Thursday, 16 October 2014

Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing - Northern Ireland



Literature and Verbal Arts (LaVA) at Community Arts Partnership is delighted to open the submissions process for the 2014-15 project ‘Making Memories’.

This year we are excited to announce that with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and of the Heaney family, we will be presenting the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing to the most outstanding submission through this process.

Each year, Community Arts Partnership publishes an anthology of new writing from poets across Northern Ireland. This will be our fourteenth anthology and we are opening submissions today.

Over the coming weeks, our poet facilitators will work with eleven writers groups in workshops designed to elicit the very best draft from each participant. These workshops will be followed by a day of open masterclasses and mentoring in Belfast on November 22nd to provide the opportunity to finely hone and complete the work already begun.

Anyone living in Northern Ireland is eligible to make a submission for the anthology by following the guidelines on the website. The submissions process will close on December 12th and the selection process will begin.

Once the selection has been made for the anthology, the selected poems will be presented to a panel which will include representatives from ACNI, the Heaney family, Community Arts Partnership and other invited literary organisations from across the region. The panel will then make the decision as to whom to award this accolade. This presents an exciting opportunity to all new and emerging poets living here, to be recognised for their craft.

The submissions guidelines are available below and must be followed in order for your submission to be eligible for consideration.


Submissions will close at 5pm on Friday 12th December.

Submissions guidelines

This anthology is dedicated to supporting new writing only.
  1. Poems previously published must not be submitted.
  2. Work that has appeared online for any reason is considered to have been previously published and should not be submitted.
  3. Poems should be not more than thirty-five lines long (including titles and line breaks).
  4. Submissions should be made as an attachment by email in a Word-compatible document to submissions@comartspartner.org
  5. Submissions must be accompanied by your name, address, postcode, phone number, email address and a statement that verifies the poem has not been published elsewhere.
  6. You must live in Northern Ireland (we will verify your address should your poetry be selected)
  7. No more than three submissions per person are permitted.
  8. By making a submission, you grant permission for Community Arts Partnership to publish the poems submitted in the forthcoming anthology or in the magazine to be published in Autumn 2015.
  9. By making a submission to the anthology, you grant permission for your work to be considered for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, if selected for the anthology.
  10. Do not make simultaneous submissions to other potential publishers i.e. work that has been submitted or is being considered elsewhere should not be submitted.
  11. We cannot accept requests for changes after you have made your submission, so please ensure it is correct before you click send.
  12. Please put your name and email address at the foot of each page (this will be removed for the selection panel for the award)
  13. Please keep a copy of your poems as we are unable to return them or enter into any correspondence regarding your work.
  14. Copyright remains with the poet, however if your work is published by Community Arts Partnership you must credit us in any future anthologies or collections in which your work appears stating that the piece was first published by Community Arts Partnership and giving the name of the publication and the year in which it was published.
  15. Community Arts Partnership reserves the right to make editorial changes and suggestions prior to publication. In this event, poets will be contacted.
  16. Community Arts Partnership is not able to provide individual feedback on any submission.
  17. Failure to adhere to the guidelines will render your submission ineligible for the anthology and for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing.

Submission Tips

Is this your first submission to a poetry anthology? Well, here are a few tips:
  • Check your punctuation and spelling. If this is sloppy it implies that you haven’t taken care to edit and that you are submitting a draft. If unsure, ask someone to look over it for you.
  • Avoid using the most obvious words. For this submission those would be ‘memory’ and ‘remember’. (Also, these are abstracts, see point 3). If your submission is to stand out in the selection process it needs to be different.
  • Avoid the abstract: show don’t tell e.g. ‘She filled one teacup’ rather than ‘she was lonely’
  • Let the reader do some work. Convey an emotion by describing a moment rather than by describing a thought.
  • Is there a reason for rhyme? If not, go with better words rather than rhyming words.
  • On a similar theme, be creative and avoid clichés. Approach the idea from a different angle.
  • Write in a voice that is comfortable to you. Eg we don’t speak in Shakespearean language so why would we write in it?
  • Avoid being verbose, or relying on jargon. Simplicity is often stronger.
  • Read your poem back aloud. Are you tripping over a word? Change it.

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