US Poet Billy Collins to adjudicate 2018 Pigott Poetry Prize


The annual Pigott Poetry Prize, presented at the Listowel Writers’ Week, is in its fifth year and is awarded for the best collection of poetry by an Irish poet published between 1st February 2017 and 1st February 2018. It awards the country’s largest prize for a poetry collection by an Irish Poet. The first prize has been increased to €8,000 this year and the two short listed finalists each receive €1,000.

The Prize is sponsored by US Philanthropist Mark Pigott KBE who stated that, “It is a blessing to be able to support this wonderful literary award and recognise the leading poets of Ireland and showcase the beauty, diversity and strength of Irish Poetry”.

This year’s adjudicators are Welsh Poet Deryn Rees-Jones and US Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

A shortlist of three collections will be revealed in March 2018 and the winner announced at the Opening Ceremony of the Listowel Writers’ Week on 30th May 2018.

The 2017 Pigott Poetry Prize winner was Vona Groarke for her collection Selected Poems which was published by Gallery Press. Vona Groarke will return to the 2018 festival and direct a three day poetry workshop.
Festival Chairperson, Liz Dunn commented, “As Irish poetry continues to enchant and also demand thought from us as readers, it is essential that the work of our most talented poets be commended in this way. We are very grateful to Mark Pigott and family for their continued support of this very special award.”

Listowel Writers’ Week takes place between the 30th May and 3rd June 2018. Details of next year’s Creative Writing Workshops will be announced later in December and include a Master Class on writing the Novel from Alex Preston, Joanna Briscoe will direct the Advanced Novel workshop, Paul McVeigh Short Fiction, Sarah Webb Writing Children’s Books and Irish Book Award Winner Julie Parson on Writing Crime. Returning next year due to popular demand is Michael Harding who will direct the Memoir Writing Workshop and John Spillane on song writing.