President Michael D Higgins with his wife Sabina and winners Alva White from Kildare, Rose Keating from Waterford, Robert Gibbons from Meath and Jason Reddan from Limerick.

President presents Hot Press writing awards

The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, a former Hot Press columnist, yesterday presented the awards to the winners of the prestigious Write Here, Write Now competition, run by Hot Press Magazine in association with Creative Ireland.
The competition, which invites entries from students all over Ireland, is also supported by PayPal and Canon. There are separate strands in the competition for second and third level.
This year’s theme was Social Media: A Writer’s Tale. Forty writers, evenly split between second and third level were shortlisted and regional winners were announced before the four national winners were unveiled. 
"Hot Press has always been about supporting emerging Irish creativity – which is why a competition like Write Here, Write Now is so important to us”, said Hot Press editor Niall Stokes. "With the controversies that have erupted around social media and the use and abuse of data by the big internet and social media players, this year’s theme proved to be very timely. And I’m thrilled to be able to say that the quality of the entries was truly extraordinary.
“It is wonderful to see that so many young writers – some of them still in their mid-teens – are capable of delivering powerful, original material, in their own unique voices. Hopefully today’s prize giving will encourage these remarkable young men and women to reach for the stars, and to make the most of the superb talent that they have shown here.”  
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, said: “My Department, through the Creative Ireland Programme, is delighted to support this competition which encourages creativity and allows new writers to have their voices heard.  It’s really important that we support creativity in all its forms and I wish all of the entrants and the winners here today the very best for the future and urge them to keep writing and creating new work.”
Among the judges for the competition were the Booker Prize winning DBC Pierre, acclaimed poet Rita Ann Higgins, the multi-award winning crime writer Tana French and Mike McCormack, who won the Goldsmith’ Prize in 2016 Prize for his hugely original novel Solar Bones, as well as Hot Press editor Niall Stokes and co-founder of the magazine, Máirín Sheehy.
“What a cool collection,” DBC Pierre said. “Underneath subject, style and language, the best writing doesn't tell us how to feel, but takes our senses places where they can feel for themselves, touching universal truths, often mysteriously. So it's been really heartening to read these upcoming writers, and a hell of a job to pick between them. Only one thing for sure: we'll be reading many of them again in the future.”
The four overall winners each win a Canon PowerShot SX620 HS professional camera; an internship with Hot Press, and a €250 cash prize. They’ll also have their winning entry published in a special issue of Hot Press.
All shortlisted entries can now be read at
The full list of winners is as follows: 
National Winners Third Level
Male: Jason Reddan from Limerick
A student at Mary Immaculate College, Jason Reddan is from Limerick city. Jason is working on his first feature film this summer and has recently completed a producing program at The New York Film Academy in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Female: Rose Keating from Waterford 
Rose is studying English at UCC, on a creative writing scholarship, as part of the Quercus program. A previous 2nd Level winner of Write Here, Write Now, her fiction has been published in the Incubator journal, Not One of Us magazine, the Quarryman journal and the Breakroom Stories podcast.
National Winners Second Level
Female: Alva White from Kildare
A student at Leinster Senior College in Newbridge Co. Kildare. Alva is a sixteen year old fact aficionado. She is a fan of Shakespeare, Steinbeck and contemporary writers like Ali Shaw and Roddy Doyle. 
Male: Robert Gibbons from Meath
Robert is a student at Kings Hospital, Co. Dublin currently undertaking his Leaving Certificate. He hopes to study English at third level. His hobbies include playing piano and reading. 
The People’s Choice Award, presented by PayPal, went to Josh O’Loughlin from Clare, who is a student in D.I.T. 
There was also a special award for Outstanding Achievement for Niamh Browne from Cork, a second-level entrant. 
Provincial Winners – Third Level
Munster: Dean Buckley (NUI Galway graduate)
Connaught: Luke McDermott (NUI Galway)
Leinster: Aaron McGinnity (Trinity)
Donegal: Daniel McBrearty (NUI Galway)
Leinster: Aoife O’Ceallachain (Trinity)
Connaught: Mairéad Melia (NUI Galway) 
Ulster: Grace O’Donnell (NUI Galway)
Munster: Amy Glover (Trinity)
Provincial Winners – Second Level
Leinster: Matthew Price (Terenure College in Dublin)
Munster: David Landers (Pobalscoil na Tríonóide in Cork)
Connaught: Luke Power (Sancta Maria College, Mayo)
Ulster: Patrick McCarron (St Macartans College in Monaghan)
Special Prize - Óran McCormack-Grant (13 Year-old) – also Ulster / Monaghan (Our Lady’s Secondary School)
Munster: Vicky Burke (3 entries – Nothing To Fear mentioned) (Saint Aidans Community College in Cork)
Connaught: Laura Quinn (Dominican College in Dublin)
Leinster: Eleanor Curran (St Vincent’s School in Dublin)
Highly Commended – Third Level
Mark Gilligan (Trinity)
Sandi Ndebele (UCD)
Josh O’Loughlin (DIT)
Daniel Ryan (DIT)
Jamie Sewell (BIMM Dublin) 
Aoife Kearins (Trinity)
Alanna MacNamee (Trinity)
Fiona Monks (DCU)
Emer O’Hara (UCD)
Caitríona O’Malley (UCD graduate)
Anna Stockdale (Queen’s University Belfast)
Highly Commended – Second Level
Conor Ryan (Belvedere College in Dublin) 
Dualtagh McDonnell (Ennis Community College in Co. Clare)
Kevin Matthews (Rathmines College in Dublin)
Fields Chung (The High School in Dublin)
Rachel O’Dwyer (Borrisokane Community College in Co. Tipperary)
Rosa Thomas (St Wolstan’s Community College in Celbridge)
Maolíosa Ní Léannacháin (Loreto College, Mullingar)
Niamh Lusson (St Louis Community School in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo)
Katie Farrell (Maryfield College in Dublin)