JP McManus launches new €10,000 short story challenge in Limerick

Pupils Melanie McKnight and Ava Mulqueen, Sean Hanley and Reece Holmes, with Sue Ann Foley, director of the JP McManus Benevolent Fund. Picture: Alan Place.
JP McManus is encouraging pupils and students across the county to produce the ‘write’ ideas about how Limerick could be a better place.

JP McManus is encouraging pupils and students across the county to produce the ‘write’ ideas about how Limerick could be a better place.

In a new initiative funded by the billionaire businessman and racing magnate, some €10,000 will be available to students in primary, secondary and third-level institutions across Limerick in a short story competition.

The short story competition is part of the new schools category in the Going for Gold initiative where students are invited to write a short story with the theme ‘How would you make Limerick a better place?’

The competition is following on from last year’s hugely successful ‘Design a lapel pin’ category, where 11-year-old Anna Kinsella from St Patrick’s Girls School designed the lapel pin , which was distributed throughout Limerick.

The entries will be judged by renowned author and the newly appointed Professor of Creative Writing in University of Limerick, Joseph O’Connor, and editor of the Limerick Leader, Alan English.

“Limerick has given brilliant writers and artists to the world,” said Mr O’Connor, brother of the singer Sinead O’Connor.

“Most of them started young, in school. As professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick, I’m hugely honoured and excited to be judging this short story competition. I’d encourage all the students taking part to let their imaginations run free. It’s your story. Be proud to tell it!”

Launching the competition this week, Sue Ann Foley, director of the JP McManus Benevolent Fund, said “this is a very exciting competition and an opportunity for all young people in Limerick to show their creative and literary talents.

“It is an honour that Joseph O’Connor has agreed to be judge and it makes this a true literary contest for the youth of our county. We hope as many students as possible take part and we look forward to reading the entries. Going for Gold is a campaign that brings out the very best of what Limerick people have to offer and a wonderful way of improving our city, we look forward to continuing to support it!”

Mr English praised the new initiative, which he said should further develop young people’s writing abilities in an increasingly digital age, especially as entrants are encourage to put pen to paper and not solely submit their stories online.

“I think this is a wonderful initiative, with marvellous potential, and I’m greatly looking forward to reading all the entries and printing them in the Limerick Leader later this summer. I have no doubt the calibre of the entries will do Limerick and its institutions proud, and generate new ideas about how Limerick could become a better place to live and work,” he said.

The winning stories, with three prizes in each category, will be published in the Limerick Leader newspaper, and the nine prizes range in value from €1,500 for first prize to €700 for third place.

Primary school pupils, from second to sixth class, can submit up to 500 words, secondary school pupils are asked to write a maximum of 800 words, and third level pupils can submit up to 1,200 words.

The closing date for entries is Friday, May 9 and the winner will be announced by the end of May.

For more details on how to enter

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