UPDATE: The Gerald Griffin Competition for First Original Adult Fiction 2024

UPDATE: The Gerald Griffin Competition for First Original Adult Fiction 2024


The Gerald Griffin Competition for First Original Adult Fiction 2024

Due to a request for a postponement of deadline being granted for the initial submission to the Gerald Griffin First Fiction Competition, this postponement has now been granted to all who wish to avail of it. The new deadline is now Friday 2nd February

Limerick Writers’ Centre is proud to announce the inauguration of The Gerald Griffin Competition for First Original Adult Fiction. The competition will take place as part of a new novel writing course given by poet and novelist Ciarán O’Driscoll. Aspiring authors are invited to submit 1500 to 2000 words as a prerequisite for participating in the upcoming novel/novella writing course, to be conducted over four Saturdays in February 2024, in Limerick. After the submissions are assessed ten writers will be invited to join the course, with a participation fee of €70.

During the course Ciarán O’Driscoll will provide invaluable mentorship, guiding participants in all aspects of writing fiction, with the end goal for each participant to craft a compelling 10,000 word manuscript.  Following the course, six selected participants will be invited to submit a completed work (25,000 words minimum) for adjudication. The writer of the most promising novel/novella, as judged by Ciaran O’Driscoll and an external invited judge, will have their work published by Limerick Writers’ Centre Publishing in Oct/Nov 2024, as part of their community publishing programme.

Key Terms and Conditions

The competition is open to any writer of any nationality or residency. Submissions must be original work and submitted in English. No previously published work should be submitted. Entries must be entered online and we accept Word docs, docx and pdf files. No entry fee is required for the initial submission. Submissions should be emailed to limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com Closing date for entries is Fri 26th Jan 2024. (Full Rules Below)

About Ciaran O’Driscoll

Ciarán O’Driscoll lives in Limerick and is a member of Aosdána.  He has published ten books of poetry, a childhood memoir titled A Runner Among Falling Leaves and A Year’s Midnight, a novel. He is currently collaborating with New York writer Susan Tepper on a play, Lady in a Post Box, set during the Emergency in 1940s Ireland. Additionally, his novella The Golden Ass is due out from Limerick Writers’ Centre Publishing in March 2024.

About Limerick Writers’ Centre

The Limerick Writers’ Centre was founded as a not-for profit organisation in 2008 to support and promote writers from or living in Limerick through readings, workshops and publishing activities. Guided by a voluntary board of directors, the Centre has been a driving force, bolstering the literary community in Limerick and surrounding area.

About Gerald Griffin

Our competition is named after one of Limerick’s most illustrious writers Gerald Griffin (1803-1840). Novelist, poet and playwright he was the author of The Collegians, which was based on the gripping story of The Colleen Bawn, involving the murder of a young Irish Catholic girl (Ellen Hanley) by a Protestant Anglo-Irish man (John Scanlon). The book later became a literary sensation and inspired a stage play, a musical adaptation and a silent movie Lily of Killarney. Griffin’s novel, which transposed its setting from Limerick to Killarney, played a pivotal role in propelling the Killarney tourist industry. Interestingly, the book was cherished by none other than the American poet Walt Whitman.


For further information, media inquiries, or competition details, please e-mail limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com or contact: Dominic Taylor 087 2996409.


  • The competition is open to writers of any nationality or residency over the age of 16.
  • Entries should be completely the entrant’s own work written in English, original, unpublished, and not entered into any other competition, nor submitted for publication, or another award which overlaps with this competition. (No simultaneous submissions).
  • One entry per person. Submissions must be original fiction, i.e. neither a reprint nor adaptation of a previously-published work – (including on any website, public blog, online forum or broadcast medium).
  • Entries must be between 1,500 and 2,000 words long, no other lengths will be judged.
  • Entries should be typed on a Word document in Arial font size 12, in double spacing, with consecutively numbered pages and submitted as a Word doc or PDF file.
  • Submissions should be sent only via email to limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com. All entry submissions will be acknowledged by AUTOMATIC email. No other form of communication will be undertaken.
  • No entry fee is required for the initial submission.
  • Ten submissions will be chosen to progress to the second phase. They will be the ones who are deemed to have written the Best Beginning of a novel/novella (1500 to 2000 words).
  • The second phase will be a four week course on the Art of Writing a Novel/Novella, during which the successful candidates will be expected to advance their work significantly.
  • The third phase will be the completion of the novel/novella, during which time mentoring will be available if required. Novels/Novellas will then be submitted to the judges for final            adjudication.
  • The finished novel/novella will then be judged by a male (Ciaran O’Driscoll) and female (to be (announced) novelist of note, and the winning entry will be published by Limerick Writers’ Centre  Publishing. as part of their community publishing programme.
  • The deadline for submissions is (IRISH TIME (GMT) 12.00) Friday, January 26th, 2024.

NOTE: Pseudonyms are not allowed.  The novella should be mostly written during the course, with flexibility to modify the beginning. Up to 7.000 words of previously written material may be included, e.g. as vignettes or sub-plots. This material may have been previously published and may need to be modified to become relevant to the novel/novella. The organisers reserve the right to discontinue/cancel the competition if not enough entries of sufficiently high standard are received.