Announcing the Novel Fair 2017 finalists

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Announcing the Novel Fair 2017 finalists –

as selected by judges Anthony Glavin, John MacKenna & Nadine O'Regan

Twelve aspiring novelists have been selected from almost 260 applicants to participate in the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2017, an annual Irish Writers Centre initiative which will take place on Saturday 18 February 2017.

Now in its sixth year, the event aims to introduce up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of publishers and agents.

The judging panel, who have remained anonymous up until today, can now be revealed as writer and editor Anthony Glavin, playwright and novelist John MacKenna and writer, producer and broadcaster, Nadine O'Regan.

Congratulations to this year's winners who have been named as:


Patricia Byrne
Dominique Cleary
Georgina Eddison
Jennifer Hall
Fidelma Kelly
Enda Kilroy
Mary Lennon
Sean Mackel
Fintan O'Higgins
Paul Quaid
Sian Quill
Mark Tuthill


There is a diverse range of genres across the novels including literary fiction, science fiction, crime, YA and dystopian fiction and a psychological thriller. The 2017 finalists are also skilled in other forms of writing with a poet, a journalist and a memoir writer in the mix and a former winner who will be trying his luck a second time round at the Fair.  

Ahead of the Fair, the finalists will take part in a Prep Day on Saturday 4 February to hone their skills, practise their pitches and gain expert advice from this year’s judging panel, while former winner Kevin Curran who has released two novels since his win, Citizens and Beatsploitation (Liberties Press), will be offering a winner’s insight.

This is the third year where a longlist of twelve applicants will have their work critiqued, extending the prizes from 12 to 24 winners. The following names will receive individual critiques: 


  • David Atcheson
  • Megan Brebner
  • Abigail Browne
  • Frances Haysman Burke
  • Eileen Counihan
  • Edward Field
  • Daniel Fleming
  • Emer Hoare
  • Bernadette Kearns         
  • Veronica Lynch
  • Gráinne Murphy
  • Anne Rabbitt  


      We would like to thank each and every applicant for entering and we wish all aspiring novelists the very best in continuing their writing. 



      About the Fair:

      The Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair presents a unique opportunity to gain face time with some of the most influential people in Irish publishing and has the potential to kick-start a literary career for each year’s winners.

      This year’s Fair will welcome representatives from the Irish and UK publishing industries including Penguin Ireland, Hachette Ireland, Transworld Ireland, New Island, The Book Bureau, Tramp Press, Marianne Gunne O’Connor Literary Agency, Jonathan Williams Literary Agency, Lisa Richards Agency and, for the first time, Tinder Press.  

      A dozen publishing deals have arisen from the Fair since its inception. Listed below are details of just some of the various publications and success stories to date that have arisen through the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair:

      • Janet E. Cameron’s novel Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World was published by Hachette in March 2013.
      • Niamh Boyce’s novel The Herbalist was published by Penguin Ireland in June 2013 and is on the longlist for IMPAC 2015.
      • Beatsploitation by Kevin Curran was published by Liberties Press in August 2013 and Kevin released his second novel Citizens to great success in 2016.
      • Alan Timmons’ novel Here In No Place was released by New Island in September 2013.
      • The Reluctant Cannibal by Ian Flitcroft was published by Legend Press in October 2013.
      • Daniel Seery’s novel A Model Partnerwas published by Liberties Press in spring 2014.
      • Susan Lanigan’s White Feathers was published by Brandon in 2014.
      • Liberties Press published Eggshells by Caitriona Lally in May 2015.  
      • Andrea Carter's novel Whitewater Church was published by Constable & Robinson (Little, Brown Book Group) in September 2015. 
      • Swimming on Dry Land by Helen Blackhurst was published by Seren in November 2015.

      And we are eagerly awaiting more updates from former winners!

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