Jim McElroy awarded second prize in the prestigious Bridport Prize poetry competition for his poem ‘Hoor’

Jim McElroy from Belfast has won the second prize of £1,000 in this year’s prestigious Bridport Prize poetry competition for his poem ‘Hoor’.

The winning poem was selected from over 3,900 entries by poetry judge Hollie McNish who said, “I read and re-read [the poem] for days. On each re-read, I discovered new patterns, new tangos of words dancing into the spotlight.” She continued, “I really enjoy writing that blasts chatter into ears. I love hearing tongues waggle..”

A new voice, Jim was first published in 2018; his work led to his selection by Poetry Ireland as one of Ireland’s emerging poets – for their Introductions Series 2019. He has read at the International Literature Festival Dublin, the Hillsborough Literary Festival and the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. His poetry has been published in the Cap Arts New Writer’s Anthology in both 2018 and 2019 and in The Honest Ulsterman. He is an honours graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast (Business) and a member of the Institute Of Directors. His poetry muses over the first and second age, stares into the third; he is working towards his first collection.

The Bridport Prize based in Bridport, Dorset, is one of the most prestigious open writing competitions in the English language with categories in poetry, short stories, flash fiction (stories of 250 words or fewer) and the Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a first novel, named in honour of the Prize’s founder.

Established in 1973 and with over £18,000 in prize money to be won annually, the competition attracts entries from across the world. This year over 10,000 writers from 83 countries competed for one of the 34 winner and highly commended awards.

The Bridport Prize is the flagship project of Bridport Arts Centre in Dorset and the competition raises vital funds for the Arts Centre’s work each year.

The Prize is known as a tremendous literary stepping-stone – the first step in the careers of writers such as Kate Atkinson, Gail Honeyman, Kit de Waal and Helen Dunmore. The competition is open to anyone as long as the submitted work is previously unpublished.

An anthology of this year’s winning entries, including Jim’s poem, is available from the Bridport Prize website at https://www.bridportprize.org.uk/

The competition for 2020 will be launched on 6 January with a closing date of 31 May 2020. Entries can be made by post or online with full information on how to apply available on the website.

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