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And the winners of WAWA are…

Flamenco dancer, soldier, school counsellor, motorcycle columnist, rock musician, judge, biochemist, even a self-confessed ‘cheese addict’ – such were some of the intriguing backgrounds of several hundred people who entered our inaugural ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards (WAWA).

With entries from across the globe, places as diverse as Christchurch, Paris, New York and Belfast, we were honored and gratified by the overwhelming response to our flash fiction and creative non-fiction competitions.

In terms of age, we were delighted to see so many young people, not to mention retirees (the oldest being 85), taking such a passionate interest in the written word.

Diversity was a distinct hallmark of the stories received, with locations alone ranging from a laundromat to an airplane, a butcher’s shop to a funeral home, a jungle clearing to a rowing boat.

As for unique characters, what about a killer offering advice to a struggling crime writer, a pencil longing for the touch of its owner, a vintage typewriter bemoaning the onset of computers, lovers in a time of coronavirus and even an eavesdropping angel hiding behind some bushes.

So many imaginative and entertaining stories arrived to us here in Donegal, on Ireland’s beautiful northwestern tip, it proved an immense challenge to choose the best. 


Full praise goes to the eventual winners: Maria O’Rourke, for her story, ‘Under The Tree’ in the Creative Non-Fiction category and Trent Pomeroy, for his story ‘The Writer’ in the Flash Fiction category.

Maria O’Rourke, mother to three grown-up children, is currently studying for a Masters degree in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick in western Ireland. After a career in teaching spanning thirty years, Maria writes both prose and poetry, her favourite genre being creative non-fiction. She will be celebrating winning our competition with her loving husband, David. 

Trent Pomeroy is a recent retiree living in Rothesay, Canada which he describes as being “on the banks of the beautiful Kennebecasis river.” Having worked in the software industry for many years, Trent readily admits much of his writing was confined to product marketing blogs. With wide-ranging writing interests, Trent has won multiple awards for creative non-fiction and short fiction.

It also gives us great pleasure to mention Jocelyn Doyle who came second in the Creative Non-Fiction category with her story, ’The Funeral Sandwich’ and Jacquie Palmer who came third with her story, ‘Hidden Away.

In the Flash Fiction category, Sue Kingham, author of ‘Little Scholar’ and Janet West, author of ‘The Dance’ shared second place, followed by Kevin Cheeseman, with his story, ‘All Filler, No Killer.

So much quality and creativity abounded among our Finalists, we felt the need to honour everyone by listing them in alphabetical order:

Creative Nonfiction:

Donna Harkin - ‘To be a writer

Elizabeth Osta - ‘A woman to the last

Eric Michael Liddick - ‘The Susurrant Silence

Geoff Hill - ‘Wild Atlantic Way

Jacqueline Kehoe - ‘The Church of the Laundromat

John Backman - ‘Looking for Bloom, I end up with Billy

Síle Maguire - ‘24th April, Dinner Time

Flash Fiction:

A. Joseph Black - ‘Fragment, for possible future use

Damien Glynn - ‘Question for you

Gary Lee Kraut - ‘Molly at sea

Kimberly M. Megahee - ‘The Eavesdropper

Michelle Wright - ‘Names'

Thea Al Hirsi - ‘Silver Waves

Bountiful thanks go to everyone who entered our competition. In doing so, you provided us with a wealth of reading pleasure that helped us through coronavirus lockdown.


So buoyed are we by the terrific response to our inaugural writing competition, we are keen to launch another one in the autumn.

For those interested, please become a Friend of Ireland Writing Retreat (it’s Free) and receive further information on future competitions and on our ongoing writing activities.

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