North West Words

Promoting the Arts in the North West of Ireland



Welcome to the North West Words website. North West Words is a monthly reading series in Donegal. Events are on the last Thursday of each month in Florence Food Co. 63 Main Street, Letterkenny. See our Facebook page or News for further details. We also run poetry competitions, a community poetry initiative called Poetry for Spaces, and an online magazine. Our 2017 Arts Council funded reading series began in July and involves six monthly readings ending in December.

Shortlist Announcement: North West Words and Donegal Creameries Poetry Competition 2017

KateNWW January2018EventPoster

North West Words are pleased to announce the shortlist of 10 poems as selected by poet and Summer Palace Press publisher, Kate Newmann, for the North West Words and Donegal Creameries Poetry Competition 2017. Congratulations to all on the shortlist and thank you to everyone who entered the competition.

‘Galway Crystal’ Trish Bennett, Co. Fermanagh
‘Still Life in Landscape’ Stephanie Conn, Co. Antrim
‘Damaged Tins’ Noel Connor, Staffordshire Moorlands, England
‘Euphemasia’ Patrick J Cosgrove, Co. Waterford
‘Keeper’ Gavan Duffy, Dublin
‘Rivers of Sleep’ Frank Farrelly, Co. Waterford
‘I was in Lanesborough today’ James Finnegan, Co. Donegal
‘Way to England’ Noel King, Co. Kerry
‘Séan Dáiliocht’ Eoin Mac Guibhir, Co. Donegal
‘Dead Dog’ Lynda Tavakoli, Co. Down

The winner will be announced by Kate Newmann at our awards night in Florence Food Co 8pm Thursday 25th January 2018. With a special thanks to Kate Newmann, competition judge, and Donegal Creameries/Aurivo the sponsor.

Launch of two North West Words poetry competitions 2017 in English and Irish

Aurivo logoIrish comp logos

PoetryCompLaunch[1]L to R: Guy Stephenson and Deirdre Hines (North West Words), Breid Lindsay (Donegal Creameries/Aurivo Co-operative Society Ltd), Danielle NicPháidín (Ealaín na Gaeltachta), Ann Marie Gallagher and Nick Griffiths (North West Words)

North West Words has launched two 2017 English and Irish language adult poetry competitions sponsored by Aurivo and Ealaín na Gaeltachta. 

The 2017 English poetry competition is now in its sixth year and is open to original and previously unpublished poems in English. The prize is €250 and a perpetual cup also donated by Donegal Creameries/Aurivo. The English poetry competition will be judged by poet Kate Newmann from Summer Palace Press.

This year, we again have a second competition for Irish language poetry. North West Words believes it is important to recognise the wealth of contemporary Irish language poetry in the country. The group, partnered with Ealaín na Gaeltachta (the body responsible for the development of the Arts in the Gaeltacht regions), have combined for a third year to develop an Irish language competition that champions new poetry written in Irish. The competition will have the same format as its English language counterpart with a prize of €250 to be awarded to the entrant who composes the best poem as Gaeilge. The winner will also receive a perpetual trophy sponsored by Aurivo, and it is judged by poet Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird.

North West Words is a non-profit organisation run on voluntary effort. The competition fee of €5 per entry (for up to three poems) goes towards the administrative costs of the competition. Deadlines for entry are 3oth November 2017 for poems in English, and 31st December 2017 for poems in Irish. Payment may be made via Paypal (see below) or by Cheque, Postal Order, Money Order (by post to the address in the rules document)

Download the rules document here in English and in Irish

Entry is €5.00

Payment by Paypal, please click on the link below.


Kate Newmann                                  CultureNight[1]

L to R: Poetry competition judges Kate Newmann and Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird

September event – Culture Night 22nd Sept 2017

Join us on Friday 22nd September for our Culture Night event in English and Irish with poet, and regular RTE Radio 1 Sunday Miscellany contributor, Denise Blake, and poet and novelist in Irish, Proinsias Mac a’Bhaird. It’s at 8pm in Florence Food Co. Letterkenny.

Denise Blake photo [2]

Denise Blake’s poetry collections, Take a Deep Breath and How to Spin Without Getting Dizzy, are published by Summer Palace Press. Her third collection will be published soon by Revival Press. Denise is a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany RTE Radio 1. She facilitates Creative Writing workshops in schools and with Adult groups. Denise is on Poetry Ireland’s Writers in the Schools Directory and the Irish Writers Centre mentor scheme.


Proinsias Mac a’ Bhaird is the author of 10 books in Gaelic including 3 collections of poetry, most recently Bealach na Mine Buí which was published in 2015. He has won the Colonel O’ Neill prize and the Oireachtas na Gaeilge prize for poetry and has been shortlisted twice for the Strokestown Poetry Prize. He has been published widely in various literary journals and has read poetry throughout Ireland from Ballycastle in North Antrim to Cork, and from the Isle of Skye to New York. He founded An Chúirt Filíochta, an annual gathering and celebration of Irish Language poets, which is held in various locations around the country. At present he is putting the finishing touches to his latest novel and will have a book for children published later on this year.

Údar deich leabhar i nGaeilge é Proinsias Mac a’ Bhaird ina measc 3 chnuasach filíochta. Is é ‘Bealach na Mine Buí’ a foilsíodh i 2015 an bailiúchán is déanaí uaidh. Bhuaigh sé duais an Choirnéil Uí Néill agus duais filíochta Oireachtas na Gaeilge agus ainmníodh ar an ghearrliosta faoi dhó é do dhuais idirnáisiúnta Bhéal na mBuillí. Tá a chuid filíochta foilsithe go forleathan in irisí liteartha agus léite aige ar fud na hÉireann agus thar lear. Bhunaigh sé An Chúirt Filíochta, cruinniú agus ceiliúradh bliantúil d’fhilí na Gaeilge a reáchtáltar in áiteanna éagsúla ar fud na tire. Faoi láthair tá úrscéal á chríochnú aige agus foilseofar leabhar do pháistí uaidh níos moille i mbliana.

There will also be music, trivia quizzes, and open mic – all providing a very enjoyable evening. Open mic is an opportunity for any audience member to read a short piece of their own work. So, if you have poetry, fiction or memoir pieces and want an opportunity to read them aloud, bring them with you to North West Words and put your name on our open mic list.
North West Words gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council, Donegal County Council and Earagail Arts Festival towards running this reading series. 
AC_FUND_LiteratureDCC logos

North West Words Poster Sept 2017

August event – North West Words 31st August 2017

Join us at the end of August for the second event in our North West Reading Series 2017 with Gerard Beirne and Lorraine Carey. All are welcome, and it’s free entry. Great readings, music from Jack Smeaton, and our monthly Open Mic.

Gerard Beirne is an internationally published author – a novelist, poet and short story writer. North West Words is delighted to showcase his reading in Letterkenny.

Lorraine Carey is a poet and a native of Greenacastle, Co. Donegal. She has recently published her first collection with Revival Press and North West Words is pleased to host her Donegal launch.

North West Words acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council, Donegal County Council, and Earagail Arts Festival in making this reading series possible. The six events will run one a month in July to December 2017.

 NW Reading Series Aug 2017 Press Release   

Launch of our North West Reading Series

AC_FUND_Literature DCC logos        Earagail Arts Logo

Our July event with Earagail Arts Festival, featuring readers Brian Leyden and Averil Meehan, was also the launch of our funded monthly reading series: North West Reading Series.

NWW-7    NWW-3   NWW-2

We’ve great events planned from July to December 2017 in Florence Food Co. Letterkenny at 8pm. See dates on our poster below.

All readers have a connection with the North West Region: they are from, living in, have lived in, and/or have set work in the North West of Ireland.

North West Words acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council, Donegal County Council, and Earagail Arts Festival in making this reading series possible. Join us and enjoy. Each event has two featured readers, music and open mic.


July event with Earagail Arts Festival – North West Words Wednesday 12th July 2017

AC_FUND_Literature DCC logos            Earagail Arts Logo

We’re delighted to announce that North West Words is at Earagail Arts Festival 2017 – see the programme at…/70576-earagail-arts-festival-2017-low-r…


We’ll be in our usual venue Florence Food Co Letterkenny, at the usual time of 8pm, but this event is in the middle of the month – Wednesday 12th July. The entry fee is €5, and you can book in advance at: or pay at the door on the night (advance booking is recommended).

We’ve two great readings planned with thanks to Brian Leyden and Averil Meehan

Brian Leyden’s books include the bestselling memoir The Home Place, and the short story collection Sweet Old World: New & Selected Stories. He is a co-writer of the feature film, Black Ice. His most recent publication is the novel Summer of ’63 set during US President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland.

Averil Meehan’s writing has been published in many literary journals and has won international literary competitions. Her poetry collection is Until Stones Blossom (Summer Palace Press) and her radio play A Family Christmas was broadcast by RTE.

North West Words acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council, Donegal County Council and Earagail Arts Festival in making these readings possible as part of their North West Reading Series. The six events in this series will run, one a month, in July to December 2017.

NWW & EAF 2017