July 10 – July 14, 2023

May 17, 2023 at 11:59pm

We invite ambitious young writers aged 18-26 to apply for this extraordinary opportunity to attend and contribute to West Cork Literary Festival as Irish Writers Centre/West Cork Literary Festival Delegates 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.

About the Programme

Now in its sixth year, the Irish Writers Centre (IWC) Young Writer Delegates Programme is intended to give young writers an opportunity to immerse themselves in a literature festival, soak up the atmosphere and to contribute to it as active participants. The selected four young writers will attend the festival events alongside an IWC facilitator and a local writer-mentor and participate in a public showcase.

During the Festival 10 – 14 July 2023

  • During this period, they will be supported by an IWC facilitator and local writer-mentor, Maeve Higgins, to reflect on the festival, develop creative work and share their views via West Cork Literary Festival and the IWC Young Writer Delegates Instagram account.
  • Delegates will also be provided with a small honorarium for participation in a creative showcase, along with free tickets to each of the events.
  • Please note accommodation is provided for three participants from outside the Bantry area, with a fourth dedicated place for a YWD living in Bantry/West Cork.


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.

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, LGBT+, disabled and working class writers, and those who consider themselves to be within the target groups described in the EDI statement on our website.

How to Apply

You will need to send:

● A short cover letter including home postal address saying clearly and concisely why you would like to be selected as a Young Writer Delegate, how you think your writing would benefit and how you think you can contribute to the festival using social media or other platforms to draw attention to the festival.

● 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 send to Incorrect formatting will disqualify.

Criteria for Selection

Eligibility – Participants must be over the age of 18 and resident on the island of the Ireland for a period of not less than one year.

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 your ideas on how your presence as a delegate will add value to the festival.

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

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

Application Deadline

Wednesday 17 May 2023 at Midnight.

Maeve Higgins is a writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Irish Examiner.  Originally from Cobh, she is an NPR favourite, and hosts a live comedy show each week in Brooklyn. In 2020, her starring role in the comedy horror movie Extra Ordinary garnered acclaim around the world. Her latest collection of essays Tell Everyone On This Train I Love Them was published by Penguin in February 2022. Follow Maeve on Instagram: @maeveinamerica



“My time as a Young Writer Delegate for the West Cork Literary Festival was amazing! Getting the chance to attend so many amazing events transformed my writing and really opened my eyes. Getting the chance to do workshops with and receive guidance from the wonderful Eimear Ryan was also amazing. This experience is one I wouldn’t trade for anything.” – Ava Ní Loingsigh



“Getting the chance to be an integral part of a major literary festival was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. It was a delight to be mentored by such an experienced and celebrated writer as Danielle McLaughlin, who was also happy to introduce us to many of the speakers at the festival. If I could relive that week in mid-July, I would.” – Mark Jackson



“Being a Young Writer Delegate was an invaluable experience. I had the opportunity to connect with other young writers. We were lucky to have Eimear Ryan as our mentor. She led writing sessions and gave incredibly helpful feedback on my own work. As a delegate I attended the West Cork Literary Festival’s full programme of events. It was both enjoyable and inspirational. From my time as a Young Writer Delegate I produced new poetry, which I then showcased as part of that year’s festival. The YWD programme is an excellent platform to uplift young writers as they develop their writing careers.”  – Niamh O’Connell

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.

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