April 24 – April 28, 2024

January 31, 2024

Email applications to

We invite ambitious young writers aged 18-26 to apply for this extraordinary opportunity to attend and contribute to Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2024 as Irish Writers Centre/Cúirt Young Writer Delegates.

In keeping with the Irish Writers Centre’s 2022-2026 Strategy, the Young Writer Delegates Programme seeks to create new opportunities, grant access and develop networks that connect writers to each other. This programme directly correlates with the objectives of Strategy Goal 2, which is to enhance opportunities for people across all communities to explore and participate in creative writing, as well as Strategy Goal 3, which is to cultivate an engaged community of writers and strategic alliances that support our ambitions.

What to Expect

Last year’s Irish Writers Centre/Cúirt Young Writer Delegates
with local writer-mentor Alan McMonagle 2023

Now in its seventh year, the Irish Writers Centre (IWC) Young Writer Delegates Programme was created to give young writers an opportunity to immerse themselves in and contribute to a literature festival, soak up the atmosphere and experience the Irish literary landscape first-hand.

The Young Writer Delegates will spend five days (four nights) at Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2024 from Wednesday 24 April 2024 to Sunday 28 April 2024.

The programme outline:

1. Mentoring: delegates will be supported by a local writer-mentor Alan McMonagle for the duration of the festival. Alan will help the delegates to develop a (new or in-progress) piece of work and support the delegates through their public showcase.

2. Festival Events: delegates will be granted access to as many festival events as they’d like to attend (depending on individual event availability), excluding workshops.

3. Social Media & Review: each delegate will be in charge of the official Young Writer Delegates Instagram for one day. Post-festival, each delegate will write a piece in response to their experience of the festival, which will be published on the IWC website.

4. Public Showcase: delegates will read a piece of their work (new or in-progress) at a public showcase as part of the festival programme. The festival provides a small honorarium for this event which will be paid in cash to the delegates at festival.

5. Feedback: in exchange for being awarded the programme, the IWC will ask for feedback and evaluation in order to continue to improve the programme for future delegates!

Please note accommodation is provided for three participants from outside the Galway area, with a fourth dedicated place for a YWD living in Galway. This year, accommodation is located at The House Hotel in the city centre. Breakfast will be provided.


This programme is open to writers aged 18-26 living anywhere on the island of Ireland with a strong interest in writing, reading and an ambition to connect with and contribute to the Irish literary scene. To be eligible for this programme, it is not essential for applicants to have been published.


  • Accommodation is provided for three delegates who are resident on the island of Ireland
  • One place is reserved for a local delegate
  • Please note that if you have availed of the Young Writer Delegates Programme in the last three years, in any iteration, you are ineligible.
  • We encourage young writers from backgrounds typically underrepresented in Irish literature to apply. We particularly invite applications from Black, POC (person of colour), Traveller, Roma, LGBTQIA+, disabled and working class writers, and those who consider themselves to be within the target groups described in the EDI Policy on our website.

How to Apply

You will need to submit:

  • A short cover letter (approx. 1 page) including home address and Eircode/postcode.

In your cover letter, please include the following:

– Why would you like to be selected as an Irish Writers Centre/Cúirt Young Writer Delegate?

– How will this opportunity benefit your writing practice? (You may wish to write about the bullet points listed in the programme outline above e.g. mentoring, festival events etc)

– Your role representing the IWC and Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2024 through your contribution to the official Young Writer Delegates Instagram and short post-festival review.

  • A Curriculum Vitae (max. two A4 pages) including any written work which may have been published online or in print.
  • Two differing samples of work (max. 500 words each)

Compile ALL of the above into a single attachment in Word Doc or PDF and email with ‘Application for Cúirt Young Writer Delegates 2024’ as the subject line. If you have not received an acknowledgement email within three working days, please get in contact with us by email or phone: (+353) 1 872 1302.

Criteria for Selection

Eligibility – Participants must be over the age of 18 and resident on the island of the Ireland for a period of no less than one year. Applicants must not have availed of the Young Writer Delegates Programme in the last three years (of any iteration/festival) in order to be eligible.

Intent – the cover letter expressing the applicant’s intent and reason for taking part is key in informing our decisions. Be sure to tell us about your ideas on how your presence as a delegate will add value to the festival.

● Samples – your samples will inform part of the decision-making process.

Geography – we are seeking applications from all over the island, with at least one local writer from the Galway area to be selected.

Please note that incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

About Alan McMonagle (Mentor)

Alan McMonagle lives in Galway. In 2015, he signed a two-book deal with Picador, and in 2017, Ithaca, his first novel was published and nominated for the Desmond Elliott Award for first novels, the Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for a Bord Gais Irish Book Award. He has published two collections of short stories (Psychotic Episodes, Arlen House, 2013 and Liar Liar, Wordsonthestreet, 2008), both of which were nominated for the Frank O’Connor Award. He also writes for radio and his plays, Oscar Night, People Walking On Water, Shirley Temple Killer Queen and Pink Moon have been produced and broadcast as part of RTE’s Drama on One season. His second novel, Laura Cassidy’s Walk Of Fame, was published in 2020.


“Being a Young Writer Delegate was an opportunity that enriched my writing practice in a way that nothing else has. Immersed in a diverse group of other Delegates and the likeminded community of Cúirt at large, inspiration was never far from reach. With the assistance of a kind and knowledgeable mentor as well as each other, my cohort and I crafted pieces for our showcase alongside attending many of the festival’s events. Between talking with some of Ireland’s greatest writers, being mentored, and finding a new group of writerly friends, being a Delegate at Cúirt was a formative experience that will have an immense impact on my work for as long as I write it.”

Matthew O’Rourke, Cúirt 2023


“Being selected as a Young Writer Delegate gave me the chance to fully experience a literary festival, perform work I’m proud of, and introduced me to a brilliant, supportive group of fellow young writers.”

Arianne Clarke, Cúirt 2023


“Being a Young Writer Delegate with the IWC has been invaluable to my writing skills, connections, and sense of empowerment as a young writer. This opportunity opened doors to the Irish writing scene and offered me friends, memories and mentors that lasted far beyond the experience.”

– Gráinne Condron, Cúirt 2023


“The YWD programme with Cúirt and the IWC allowed me to be part of a network of young writers. We continue to share work regularly and meet up all around Ireland, to discuss writing and creative endeavours and catch up, a kind of writer support group. This has been invaluable in my journey as a writer. I was able to attend numerous talks and literary events with writers I have long admired. I have found Cúirt and the IWC to be a close-knit and friendly community, from Manuela Moser to the IWC team, and our YWD mentor Alan McMonagle,  who made me feel like I belonged and deserved to be at Cúirt.”

Lucy Bleeker, Cúirt 2023

Application Deadline

Wednesday 31 Jan 2024 at midnight.

About the Irish Writers Centre

For over 30 years as the leading support and development organisation for writers, the Irish Writers Centre has acknowledged and uplifted those with the courage and compulsion to write by providing opportunities for them to develop their skill, advance their ambitions and join a vibrant and diverse community of people who share their passion and purpose. We carry out our work, online and in person, on an all island basis. Our just-launched strategy outlines a commitment to diversity and sustainability across our activities and its ambition is to connect writers of all types and talents across the island.


About Cúirt International Festival of Literature

Cúirt International Festival of Literature brings together world-renowned authors, thinkers and passionate readers. Founded in Galway in 1985, Cúirt is one of Europe’s oldest book festivals, and a leading voice for literature both internationally and across Ireland. We bring readers and writers together to tell stories, share new perspectives, and celebrate literature. Through our festival every April and our year-round programme, we nurture a community of readers interested in the world, creating a space for conversation, debate and reflection.


The Irish Writers Centre and Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2024 are supported by the Arts Council. The accomodation is sponsored by the House Hotel.

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