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Short Story Competition

The Limerick Literary Festival in Honour of Kate O’Brien, began in 1984 to mark the tenth anniversary of the death of Limerick-born writer Kate O’Brien. The event continues to celebrate the life and works of the author, while attracting prominent participants from all over the world. It is an inspiring mix of both discourse and discussion.

In 2021 the Limerick Literary Festival in Honour of Kate O’Brien announced a new prize for previously unpublished authors which would have seen the selected winning manuscript published in a limited 500 run edition. The Prize, which has been generously supported for 5 years by Paul and Aileen Finucane, was open to all Irish authors who have not signed with a publishing house.

While we received many submissions and truly extraordinary writing, none of these submissions were felt to be at a developed enough stage for immediate publication. There were many excellent concepts and some very original approaches to structure and story but on the whole all of the submissions would have required further development and time working with an editor to bring them to publication standard. We felt that as a festival we were not equipped to be able to provide that level of support and so the decision was made not to offer the Prize in 2021 and to revisit the competition as a whole for 2022.

As a result, a decision has been made by the committee to pivot the prize towards previously unpublished writers who may submit short stories for inclusion in an anthology with a maximum of 10 authors chosen. We feel that this approach will allow writers to develop their work for submission to a further extent due to the nature of the short form.

The prize will now consist of up to 10 shortlisted authors being published in a collection of short stories in 2023. Each author will receive a number of copies of the finished book for their own sale/use and be included in the publication.

Short stories should be approximately 5000 words long and previously unpublished, additionally the author should not have published a novel previously or be signed with a publishing house (publication of other short stories is permissible). Please see Terms and Conditions below.

Terms and Conditions

Entry is online, you may enter as many times as you wish.

This short story competition is open to writers who hold Irish Citizenship writing in English.
There is no restriction on theme or style.

Maximum number of words is 5,000.

The winning stories must be available for the Limerick Literary Festival  Anthology, and therefore must not have been published previously.

Limerick Literary festival holds publishing rights for one year after publication, after which publishing rights revert to the author. (Please acknowledge Limerick Literary Festival in any subsequent publications.)

Only works by no more than one author are eligible

For the purposes of this award, an author who has been contracted by a publisher as at the closing date for entries is not eligible to enter this competition.

Notification of receipt of entry will normally be by email.

The judges’ verdict is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

Stories cannot be altered or substituted once they have been entered.

Judging is anonymous. Name and contact details must not appear on the stories).

Employees of the promoter, their families, agents and any other person connected with those individuals and/or the promotion are not eligible to enter this category. The promoter is the Limerick Literary Festival

Entry fees will not be returned if stories are withdrawn after entering.

The nominated work must be submitted in the following format:   

  • PDF
  • 1.5-spaced or double-spaced
  • Pages should be numbered
  • Please include a title page and MUST NOT include your name


The deadline for receipt of entries is 5.00pm on Thursday September 1st. Late entries will not be accepted.

Entry is taken as acceptance of these rules.

See for further information and to enter the competition.

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