*Thank you to everyone who submitted their stories. Please note the closing date has been reached and we will be announcing winners in due course* 

The All Ireland Scholarships Alumni Association is proud to present its first creative writing competition, open to all recipients of the All-Ireland Scholarship Award since its inception. Sponsored by JP McManus, a stellar cast of award-winning authors has been assembled to judge the competition, including Joseph O’Connor, Sinéad Gleeson and Donal Ryan. There is one award covering fiction and creative non-fiction categories, with a prize fund of €1,750


Entrants must be over 18. All past and present recipients of the All Ireland Scholarship are invited to submit up to three entries each.  

The awards 

Awards of €1,000 (first prize); €500 (second prize) and €250 (third prize) are on offer. Selected shortlisted stories may also be published in a specially edited anthology. 


Entries must be received no later than Monday, November 30th at 5pm. Shortlisted entries will be announced in the new year.


1. Fiction (short story): We’re looking for creative short stories on any theme or subject. Judges will be on the lookout for interesting, lyrical, elegant, well-structured narratives that hold our attention and provide an emotional and imaginative impact. Stories can be written in any style or register. The most outstanding of the entries will distinguish themselves through their use of language, the extent to which they engage the reader, the effectiveness of the structure and the elegance and clarity of the events and characters.  

2. Creative non-fiction: Non-fiction entries will draw from real life and be based on true experiences, real people or real events. A non-fiction entry might be based on a childhood memory, your own adventures or those of a family member, an interesting aspect from the life of someone you admire, an educational or other experience or a remarkable historical event or something from ordinary life. Keep in mind that this category does not imply scholarly reports or academic essays.  

For either, as long as the writing is original, imaginatively narrated and well written, it can be about anything you like.  

Whether you’re already a creative writer, or this is your first time thinking of giving it a try, this might be your chance! And whether you choose to write fact or fiction, we think you have ideas and stories that will interest us, surprise us, entertain us, engage us, even make us laugh and cry. 

The entries 

  • Each entry must not exceed 2,000 words. There is no minimum word count. 
  • Entries must be written in English and should be typed, double-spaced 12 font size and saved and entered via the form below in Microsoft Word or PDF format.
  • Your name should not appear on the document, but you should include your full name and contact details in the below application form. 
  • If you submit more than one entry, you must include each (to a maximum of three) as separate applications.
  • All writing must be your own original, unpublished work and must not have appeared in the public domain either in print or online. Those who entered the AIS anecdotal story competition this summer may resubmit those entries if they so wish.
  • Resubmissions from last year’s Short Story Competition are not allowed. However, if a significant change or alteration has been made to the short story it will be accepted. Please do not resubmit your short story from last year without any alterations as it will not be accepted.


Please use the form below to submit your short story

Short Story Submission
Choose Category *

Maximum file size: 134.22MB



Terms and conditions:

  • Deadline for entering the competition is Monday, 30th November 2020 at 5pm. 
  • In the event of an insufficient response and/or low numbers of competition entries, the Alumni association competition team reserves the right not to award a prize or prizes once the specified time frame is complete.

  • Entrants must be over 18 and must be Alumni or current students of the All Ireland scholarship scheme.

  • The judges’ decision will be final. No correspondence will be entered into with any entrants in relation to the award decisions.

  • The competition screening, shortlisting and selection process will be overseen by the competition team and by a trustee of the Scholarship association.

  • Membership of the judging panel, prize money amounts and categories and competition time frames and deadlines may be subject to change.

  • Shortlisted and / or winning entries may be subject to media and other forms of publication. By entering the competition, you agree to this.


The Judging Panel


Joseph O’Connor is the author of 18 books including Shadowplay, which won the An Post/Eason Novel of the Year Award at the 2019 Irish Book Awards, and Star of the Sea, which has sold more than a million copies and been published in 40 languages. He is Frank McCourt Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. On being asked to form part of the judging panel for the competition, he said: “What a wonderful idea to invite both fiction and creative non-fiction writing as part of this new and exciting competition. I’m delighted to be on the judging panel. It’s sure to encourage the talented members of the All-Ireland Scholarship Alumni to get writing, and to tell their stories, real, or imagined.” 


Sinéad Gleeson is an Irish Book Award-winning writer, editor and broadcaster. Her essays have been published by Granta, Winter Papers and Gorse, and broadcast by BBC and RTÉ. Her debut essay collection Constellations: Reflections from Life (Picador) won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at 2019 Irish Book Awards and the Dalkey Literary Award for Emerging Writer. She said: “Many people struggle with ideas when it comes to writing, but stories are innate if we dig deep enough. There are many ways to tell a story – fiction, essay, memoir - and I’m always interested not just in the narrative itself, but how a person tells it. We need more new writing and new voices and this competition seems the perfect impetus to get started.”


Donal Ryan is a multi-award-winning author, whose 2013 novel The Spinning Heart landed the Guardian First Book Award, the EU Prize for Literature (Ireland), and Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards; it was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize, and was voted 'Irish Book of the Decade'. He said: “The written word is one of the greatest ways we have of sharing human experience with one another. Whether fact or fiction, creative writing shines a light on something that might otherwise go unnoticed. I can’t wait to read the range of writing and new stories that this competition will generate.”


Professor Sarah Moore Fitzgerald chairs the All-Ireland Scholarships Alumni Association Creative Writing Competition. She is Professor of Teaching and Learning at the University of Limerick with a particular interest in creativity and currently works with the creative writing team at UL. Sarah has an academic background in psychology and pedagogy, was UL’s first Dean of Teaching and Learning and Ireland’s inaugural chair of the National Forum for the enhancement of teaching and learning in higher education. Sarah has published five novels. Her fiction has been adapted for the stage in Edinburgh and London’s West End. She has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize, the CBI Book of the Year Award and the Irish Book Awards. She received a Kirkus star for her fiction in the USA, is a past winner Irish Writers’ Centre’s Jack Harte Award and her novels have been translated into over 17 different languages.