The deadline for submissions has now passed. Thank you to all who entered. The shortlist is being devised and will be announced on Tuesday, 25th January.

The All Ireland Scholarships Alumni Association is delighted to present its second Creative Writing Competition, open to all members of our Alumni Association.

Following the success of the inaugural competition, this year’s judging panel comprises a stellar trio of award-winning authors: Ireland’s first Prix Jean Monnet winner for European Literature, Donal Ryan, acclaimed writer Kerri ní Dochartaigh and 2021’s winning entrant, writer Alice Kinsella. The judging process will be chaired by Professor Sarah Moore Fitzgerald.

The winning entry will receive a prize of €1,000 and €500 will be presented to three runners-up.

Please note: If you are thinking about submitting an entry, we will also be offering some support in advance of your submission. Professor Moore Fitzgerald will be hosting a Creative Writing Workshop to give some advice and guidance, inspire story ideas, advise on structure and help participants to develop their writing skills.


Entrants must be over 18.  All members of the All Ireland Scholarship Alumni Association are eligible to apply and can submit up to three entries each.

The Awards 

Awards of €1,000 (first prize) and €500 (for each of the three runners-up) are on offer. Selected shortlisted stories may also be published in a specially edited anthology.

Types of Creative Writing

We invite creative writing in both fiction and non-fiction categories. Submissions can be on any theme or subject and in addition to short stories, non-fiction pieces such as memoir, autofiction and bio-fiction will also be welcome. All submissions will be judged by the same general criteria: the effectiveness of the narrative, the excellence of the writing, the strength and style of the voice and the overall quality of the piece.

In the fiction pieces, we will be looking for originality, fresh, interesting use of language, strong plotting, with strong beginnings, compelling turning points and satisfying endings. 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, a remarkable historical event or something from ordinary life.

As long is the writing is original, imaginatively narrated and well-written, with strong beginnings, middles and ends, stories can be about anything you like.

Whether you are already a writer or this is your first time or you are considering giving it a try, this is your chance! There’s nothing to lose!

And whether you choose to write about fact or fiction, we are certain you have ideas and stories to tell and share that will interest us, surprise us, entertain us, engage us, and move us.

The Entries

  • There is no minimum word count, however each entry should be no longer than 2,000 words. If you submit more than one entry, you must include each (to a maximum of three) as separate applications.
  • It is essential that you specify whether each submission is fiction or non-fiction.
  • Entries must be written in English and should be typed, double-spaced 12 font size and saved using the format Title_Genre_WordCount (e.g., ReadersReport_NonFiction_2000) and entered at the bottom of this page in Microsoft Word format.
  • Upload one coloured photograph of yourself with your submission.
  • Note that all submissions will be anonymously reviewed, so your name must not appear anywhere on the document, but you should include your full name and contact details in the application form.
  • All writing must be your own, original, unpublished work and should not currently be under consideration elsewhere, nor should it have appeared in the public domain either in print or online.
  • No submissions of poetry, academic essays or reviews please. If you have entered before, you may submit a similar entry once it is not an exact replica and once, compared to the original version, it has been substantially developed.

Key Dates

  • Open now: Call for entries.

  • 27th November 2021: Creative Writing Workshop.

  • 9th January 2022: Deadline for receipt of entries.

  • 25th January 2022: Shortlist announced.

  • 1st March 2022: Announcement of awards.

The deadline for submissions has now passed.

Terms and Conditions

  • 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 Scholarships scheme.

  • The judges’ decision will be final and they will have absolute discretion with regard to the number of awards in each category.

  • 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 Scholarships Association.

  • Membership of the judging panel, prize money amounts, categories, 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


Professor Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is an award-winning teacher, researcher, novelist, writer and author, who chairs the All Ireland Scholarships Alumni Creative Writing Competition. Sarah is a Professor of Teaching and Learning at the University of Limerick (UL), with a particular interest in creativity. She has published several novels, with her fiction being adapted for the stage at the Edinburgh Festival and the Arts Theatre in London’s West End.

Sarah has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize and the CBI Book of the Year Award. In 2015 she received a Kirkus Star for her second novel, 'The Apple Tart of Hope', and in 2016 won the Irish Writers’ Centre’s Jack Harte Award.


Donal Ryan is a multi-award-winning author and lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. His 2013 novel The Spinning Heart won the Guardian First Book Award, the EU Prize for Literature (Ireland), Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, and was voted 'Irish Book of the Decade'. In 2021, Donal became the first Irish writer to win the Prix Jean Monnet for European Literature for his work ‘From a Low and Quiet Sea’.

On the competition, Donal 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.”


Alice Kinsella was born in Dublin and raised in Co. Mayo. Her work has been published in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, RTÉ, Banshee, and The North, among others. Her pamphlet Sexy Fruit (Broken Sleep Books) was a Poetry Book Society Spring 2019 Selection. She edited Empty House: poetry and prose on the climate crisis (Doire Press, 2021).

She graduated from TCD in 2016 with a BA in English Literature and Philosophy, and from NUIG in 2018 with an MA in Writing. She received support from Words Ireland and The Arts Council of Ireland to complete her first full-length poetry collection. Alice's first piece of creative nonfiction won the inaugural AIS alumni creative writing award in 2021. She currently lives on the west coast of Ireland.


Kerri ní Dochartaigh is the author of ‘Thin Places’ which was highly commended by the Wainwright Prize. She has written for The Guardian, the Irish Times, the BBC, Winter Papers, and others. She lives in an old railway cottage in the heart of Ireland with her family.

Praise for ‘Thin Places’: “A remarkable piece of writing. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as open-hearted as this. It resists easy pieties of nature as a healing force, but nevertheless charts a recovery which could never have been achieved without landscape, wild creatures and “thin places”. It is also flocked with luminous details (moths, birds, feathers, skulls, moving water). Kerri’s voice is utterly her own, rich and strange. I’ve folded down the corners of many pages, marking sentences and moments that glitter out at me. Wow” - Robert Macfarlane