We are delighted to announce the winners of the Jack Harte and Lacuna Bursaries 2024. These awards were presented by Jack Harte, Founder of the Irish Writers Centre, and Sarah Searson, Director of The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, at our annual Members’ Christmas Party on Wednesday 6 December 2023. The bursaries, created by the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in partnership with the Irish Writers Centre, provide writers with a one-week fully resourced Writer-in-Residence bursary to take place in 2024 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan. Read more about the winning writers and awards below.

Jack Harte Bursary 2024

The Jack Harte Bursary offers a professional writer a one-week fully resourced Writer-in-Residence bursary to take place in 2024 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. The award is named in honour of Jack Harte, Founder of the Irish Writers Centre, in celebration and acknowledgement of his contribution to Irish literature. Previous awardees include Louise Phillips, Micheál Ó Conghaile, Jan Carson, Neil Hegarty, Henrietta McKervey, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald and Liz Nugent. Last night, Jack Harte, who was unable to come to the Christmas Party, announced the winner via pre-recorded video message.

Sue Divin is the winner of the Jack Harte Bursary 2024!

Headshot of Sue Divin, 2023


Sue Divin is a Derry-based writer and peace worker, with Armagh roots. With wry humour and emotional punch, her writing often touches on diversity, reconciliation, borders and the legacy of the Troubles.

She has two young adult novels (Macmillan). Truth Be Told (Parent Trap meets Derry Girls) won the McCrea Literary Award and was shortlisted at the Irish Book Awards and UK Literacy Awards. Guard Your Heart (A ‘Romeo and Juliet’ set in NI 2016) was Carnegie shortlisted and won the Great Reads Award (Ireland).

Her writing has been described as ‘Profoundly powerful, subtle and effective’ (The Guardian), ‘Compelling’ (Irish Times) and ‘Laced with dry wit, emotion and self-deprecating humour’ (Irish News). Of Truth Be Told, The Irish Times stated, ‘This polished novel makes space for the messy complexity of human existence, and gently offers, but does not preach, hope.’

See below a snippet of Sue’s speech that she said on the night:

“When I applied for this bursary, I genuinely thought I’d have a better chance of swimming the Sahara than winning this, but I’ve never been to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre so I’m thrilled. For me, it’s a rare gift to have a full week to focus on writing. I’ll be using it to focus on my third YA novel, based in Derry and Donegal today. At its heart, it’s a story about two siblings in foster care and their journey, both physical and emotional, to find family. Digging deeper, it’s a narrative that explores contemporary issues about borders, identity, and restorative justice.”

Lacuna Bursary 2024

The Lacuna Bursary offers an emerging writer a one-week fully resourced Writer-in-Residence Bursary to take place in 2024 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Now in its second year, this annual award is specifically designed to support an emerging writer from a background typically underrepresented in Irish literature to develop their writing practice. Last year’s awardee was Canadian-American writer and actor, Mahito Indi Henderson.

We are thrilled to announce that two writers received the bursary this year! At last night’s Christmas Party, Sarah Searson, Director of The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, presented the selected writers with their awards:

Rafael Mendes is the joint winner of the Lacuna Bursary 2024!

Headshot of Rafael Mendes, 2023 

Rafael Mendes is a migrant writer from Brazil. His work has recently appeared in Skylight 47, Litro Magazine, Poet Lore, The Trumpet, and archived in UCD Irish Poetry Reading Archive. He has been selected for Poetry Ireland’s 2023 Introduction Series. He’s a PhD candidate and Teaching Assistant at Trinity College Dublin.

Rafael reveals what he will  be working on during the residency:

“While at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, I will work on the novella Central Station, the main piece of a collection of stories I’m putting together. This project is filled with characters who move between cities and languages and struggle with the idea of home. I am excited to spend a week focusing on my writing and hopefully see Central Station in the bookshops across the island.”


Julie O’Leary is the joint winner of the Lacuna Bursary 2024!

Headshot of Julie O’Leary, 2023 


Julie O’Leary is an Irish Traveller writer. She is a mother of two young gentlemen, who aspire to become authors themselves. Julie comes from the midlands of Ireland, where the wealth of creative pours out like the sea itself. She come from a rich heritage of old Irish Traveller storytellers. Her deep love and passion for writing came from her grandfather Joseph O’Leary , As she watched him by the summer night campfires, telling his stories. She recalls being in sheer awe of his ability, which took each person to the heavens and beyond. There he stood behind the flickering flames of the campfire, the stars his backdrop and the moon his light. She saw first-hand how we as humans can move each other with our words and stories. Her grandfather had given her the greatest gift one could only hope to receive in this life. He gave her freedom through the art of storytelling. Julie’s fear was, if she were not to write what would have been the point to her life at all. In her words she explains what her souls feels about writing, ‘I am a seamstress, my writing the embroidery. For each word I stitch together, is with the lining of my soul. I write not for the reader but for the soul I wish to give humanity a different kind of story, one that is not just found on the pages of a book but one in which is lived and lived well’.

Julia had this to say about winning the Lacuna Bursary 2024:

“I would like to thank the Irish Writers Centre and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Who have awarding me the opportunity to further my novel The Little Girl In Blue Ribbons ,in such a quiet and beautiful setting. This award for me and many souls like, will greatly help and support our life’s vocation in the creative arts . I truly do hope they know , the gift they give to us all .”

About the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

The Tyrone Guthrie Centre is a cross-border organisation that offers time away, space to work, and opportunities for collaboration and networking for artists that facilitates the development of their practice across all art forms.

Annaghmakerrig House is situated in the quiet countryside of County Monaghan, and together with our self-catering cottages, our studios and performance spaces, as well as our lake and our forests, gardens, and fields, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre is a place where creativity flourishes amid the many pressures and distractions of contemporary life. Providing a quiet environment that esteems, supports, and develops our artists is what we do, but we aim to do it more holistically by creating audiences for our artists where appropriate, and by creating partnerships with organisations such as The Irish Writers Centre for the benefit of artists from all communities on the island of Ireland.

Inside Annaghmakerrig, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Co. Monaghan