Winner of the Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2021 announced


The Arts Office, Waterford City & County Council is pleased to announce that the winner of the national Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2021 is Patrick Holloway, Carrigaline, Co. Cork.

Patrick is a writer of stories and poems. He was the winner of Headstuff’s Poem of the year and Caring for Carers Poetry Contest and took second place in the Raymond Carver Contest, the Irish Times Travel Writing Award, and the RTE/Penguin Short Story Competition.

Patrick has been placed and shortlisted for the Allingham Fiction Contest, Allingham Poetry Contest, Bath Short Story Prize, Moth Short Story Prize, Dermot Healy Poetry Prize, The Bridport Prize. He was a finalist for the prestigious Alpine Writing Fellowship and was Highly Commended for the Manchester Fiction Prize. His writing has appeared in Carve, Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review, The Illanot Review, The Moth, Overland, The Lonely Crowd, Southword, among others.

Patrick’s story ‘The Paradox of Remembering’ is the twenty fourth winner of the Molly Keane Creative Writing Award run by Waterford City & County Council’s Arts Office with support from the Arts Council and by kind permission of the Keane family with an award of €500.


You can view a reading of the winning story online Waterford In Your Pocket on facebook https://www.facebook.com/WaterfordIYP or YouTube which was broadcast live as part of Culture Day/Night celebrations at 1.30pm on Friday 17th September.

Margaret Organ, Arts Officer thanked all the entrants and judges for their work. She said that the feedback from the adjudicators was that the standard of stories was particularly high this year.

The next significant literature event in Waterford’s calendar is the Waterford Writers Weekend from October 21st to 24th 2021.

Patrick Holloway

Two-part workshop with the Writer in Residence Alison Driscoll delivered on Zoom May 23rd and June 13th

Waterford writer listed as one of the winners of the Fish Short Story Prize

The Arts Office, Waterford City & Co Council and the Molly Keane Writer's Retreat would like to congratulate Dr. Fiona Ennis, who lectures in Waterford Institute of Technology. She has been listed as one of the winners of the 2021 Fish Short Story Prize. Her story, ‘Duck Egg Blue’, received an honorary mention and will be published in the Fish Short Story Prize Anthology this summer. The prize drew over 1,600 entries from all over the world. Fiona has previously won the Molly Keane Creative Writing Award. Her short stories have also been short-listed for the Bristol Short Story Prize and the U.S. based Philosophy Ethics Short Story Award. Her work has been published in journals and anthologies. https://www.fishpublishing.com/2021/03/17/short-story-prize-2020-21-results-short-long-lists/

Congratulations Molly Twomey

The current Waterford Poetry Prize winner, Molly Twomey from Lismore, Co. Waterford has been announced as the poet selected to be mentored by Dorianne Laux as the Eavan Boland Award winner, established by Jacar Press to honour one of Ireland's greatest poets.

Molly Twomey said in her application "I am a huge fan of Boland’s work and wrote an essay about her first collection, In Her Own Image, for my BA in English literature. Subsequently, I studied her poetry for my MA in Creative Writing in University College Cork where I received the title of college scholar. She empowered me to write about my own experience and that of the women around me, often through the guise of mythology."

Molly Twomey holds an MA in Creative Writing from UCC and has been published in journals such as Poetry Ireland, Crannóg, The Stinging Fly, Banshee, and The Irish Times. She won the Padraic Colum Poetry Prize in 2019, the Waterford Poetry Prize in 2020, and has been selected for Words Ireland’s National Mentoring Programme 2020. In 2020, Molly was one of two poets from Cork, Ireland who participated in the annual international poetry exchange between Cork and Coventry (UK).


Dorianne Laux is one of the U.S.' most beloved poets. Her sixth collection, Only As the Day is Long: New and Selected Poems was named a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her fifth collection,The Book of Men, was awarded The Paterson Prize. Her fourth book of poems, Facts About the Moon, won The Oregon Book Award and was short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Laux is also the author of Awake; What We Carry, a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award; Smoke; as well as a fine small press edition, The Book of Women. She is the co-author of the celebrated text The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry.


The Arts Office and all of us here at Molly Keane Writer's Retreat congratulate Molly on this wonderful achievement and wish her continued writing success.

 2021 Season

The Molly Keane House is located in the seaside village of Ardmore overlooking the bay. Her daughter Virginia Keane Brownlow has made the house available for aspiring, emerging and professional writers to attend workshops, masterclasses and retreats through the Molly Keane Writers Retreats, in a nurturing and inspiring environment where Molly Keane wrote her Booker-shortlisted novel -- Good Behaviour. 

At Molly Keane's House by Thomas McCarthy

When you lift the gate and walk down the steps into Molly Keane’s house in Ardmore you know you are coming down into a creative lair, into an eagle’s nest, into a writer’s heaven. I descend into a pillow of voices, an atmosphere that is thick with the scent of white roses, with the memories of some of the loveliest days of my youth. There is old Brigadier FitzGerald before me, happy to have another lost novel of Molly’s in his hand, impatient for Molly’s signature, impatient to get down to a right good gossip about the residents of the Blackwater valley; there is Hurd Hatfield, always hovering, ready to be charming or morose (depending upon whether a visitor remembers who he is), there is Hero, yapping, sniffling in Molly’s arms. But when you enter this house it is not just the place of personal memory: it is the house as a writer’s working space, the house as workshop where the work gets done. Here is a place to come to in County Waterford if you want to attend to the writer’s task. There is light for reading, spectacular light off the sea, but there are corners for hiding in, corners of memory where the ectoplasm of a poem or a story might grow into life. This house in Ardmore will always have a special place in my heart; an ambitious place, a place where to walk down the steps is to re-emerge into a clearing in the forest of mere general ideas, to reach an atmosphere where the task of writing becomes the great task of one’s life. ‘Writing is sheer hell,’ Molly agreed with my wife Catherine one afternoon long ago, ‘but it has to be done.’ There are few writers who carried the task of writing with such grace and determination as Molly Keane. She is a beacon and exemplar to all of us who wish to complete that one thing we were born to do: to write, for ourselves if not for others.  When I walk through this house now, remembering the voices, remembering her voice most especially, I am full of the hope that a day set aside for writing brings. You will feel it all too: the tack-room, the yard, the cut flowers, the waiting pen and paper.

                                                        Thomas McCarthy