Writing.ie were delighted to hear that, on 7 November, in front of a distinguished audience that filled St. Martin’s Hall (London) in the Crypt filled to capacity, the prestigious Keats-Shelley Essay prize for 2013 was awarded to Eleanor Fitzsimons for her essay ‘The Shelleys in Ireland: Passion masquerading as insight?’ The prestigious Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry was awarded to another Irish writer, Patrick Cotter, for his poem ‘Madra’. This is the first time in the sixteen year history of both the poetry prize and the essay prize that an Irish person has won, so it’s remarkable to have achieved the double.
Eleanor is a writing.ie regular contributer who has interviewed a broad range of authors on our behalf. Read her articles
The Keats-Shelley Prizes were established in 1998 by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, an organisation that actively champions and celebrates new voices and emerging writers. In her introduction, acclaimed novelist and chair of the judging panel, Salley Vickers described the essays submitted this year as, ‘rich and various, scholarly and for the most part pleasingly original’.
On presenting the prize to Ms. Fitzsimons, Salley Vickers described her winning essay as, ‘a thoughtful, exciting account of political reform’, and spoke of how her own admiration for the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was tainted somewhat by his behaviour towards his first wife, Harriet. She chose Patrick Cotter’s poem for: ‘It’s mysterious power to conjure the non-verbal animal world via language – a non-verbal world that stayed in my mind and remained tangible in my imagination’.
Eleanor Fitzsimons is a researcher, freelance journalist and regular contributor to writing.ie. She is represented by literary agent Andrew Lownie and is working on a biography that examines Harriet Shelley’s fascinating, turbulent and tragic life. You can find out more about that here.
Patrick Cotter is the Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre in Cork and the organiser and jury chairman of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. His published work includes a verse novella and two poetry collections Perplexed Skin (Arlen 2008) and Making Music (Three Spires 2009).
The winning essay and poem will be published in the next issue of the Keats-Shelley Review. For more information, click here.