Mairtín Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story 2024 is open.

Full details  

About the Awards

The Mairtín Crawford Awards are aimed at writers working towards their first full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel. Both published and unpublished writers are invited to submit between 3-5 poems for the poetry award, and a short story of up to 2,500 words for the short story award, with the only stipulation being that they have not yet published a full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel.

The Winner of each Award will receive a £500 cash Prize. In addition, each Winner can take up time a ‘Time to Write’ package which includes a 3-night stay at a Hotel in Belfast, and 4 days of dedicated writing space in The Crescent. Two Runners Up for each Category will receive a £250 cash prize.

Our thanks go to CILIP Ireland for their continued support of the Awards.

Who was Mairtín Crawford? 

Mairtín Crawford was a writer and poet and who was a significant figure in Northern Ireland's literary community. “Mairtín wrote as he lived, with a combination of intelligence and daring, revolutionary spirit and generosity of heart.” Moyra Donaldson

He was born in Belfast in 1967 and educated at Rathmore Grammar School and Queen’s University Belfast. He was co-founder and editor of the radical poetry journal, The Big Spoon, the production and arts editor of Fortnight Magazine and a prominent figure of Giros Poetry Collective. Mairtín was a creative writing tutor at The Crescent for eight years, before being appointed as writer-in-residence, and in his time at the Centre, he encouraged new writers by providing ways of publication and readings for people of all ages and abilities. Mairtín was appointed Director of the Between The Lines Festival of Literature (which is now the Belfast Book Festival) and in 1993 brought Allen Ginsberg to read at the Centre. 

His own writing spanned many genres, including poetry, screenwriting, journalism and criticism. Mairtín died suddenly in 2004. In 2005 Lagan Press published his Selected Poems. 

Mairtín Crawford Awards Patron - Moyra Donaldson

Moyra was a friend of Mairtín’s, and brought the idea of the Award to The Crescent/Belfast Book Festival in 2014. She has been Chair of the Judges of the Poetry Award each year. In 2024 she has stepped back from the judging, but remains closely involved in the Award.

Moyra Donaldson is a poet and creative writing facilitator from Northern Ireland. She has published nine collectionsof poetry, including a limited-edition publication of artwork and poems, Blood Horses, in collaboration with artist Paddy Lennon. Her most recent collection of poems, Bone House, from Doire Press, was published in Spring 2021. In 2019, she received a Major Individual Artist award from Arts Council NI.

To make a submission you must:

1. Pay a submission fee of £10 using the blue box at the bottom of this page. There's a button for Poetry and one for Short Story. Follow the checkout instructions. 

2. You will receive a confirmation email that contains your order number.  

3. Prepare your submission and ensure you carefully read the terms and FAQs. Click here to read the terms and FAQs. For the Poetry Award 3-5 poems and for the Short Story Award a short story up to 2,500 words. All entries submitted can be on any subject, written in any style or form. Entries must be in English. 

4. Submit your entry by email to and quote your order number in the subject line of the email.

5. The closing date for submitting your work is at Midnight (UK time) is at 12pm on Wednesday 10 April 2024.





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