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Rewarding new literary talent

Last update - Thursday, February 19, 2009, 02:15 By Metro Éireann

The winners of the second annual Metro Éireann Writing Award were announced last Tuesday. The competition, solely judged by Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle, is aimed at helping Ireland’s immigrant writers succeed and covers poetry, short stories, essays and book extracts.

The writers who emerged at the ceremony received over €9,000 in cash prizes. They also went home with signed copies of The Deportees, a collection of Roddy Doyle’s short stories which he wrote exclusively for Metro Éireann in our early years.
The top prize of €5,000 went to a 33 year-old Nigerian Melatu Okorie, an asylum seeker based at the Mosney accommodation centre in Co Meath, for her short story Gathering Thoughts – inspired by the stress which asylum seekers encounter in reception centres across Ireland. Her story is an account of someone turning their disadvantages into a great opportunity, which should be emulated by everyone.
Other winners included Pranjali Bhave and Adrian White, who received €1,000 and €2,000 respectively. In addition, Esohe Igunma from Cork and Dublin-based Cyril Teo received €500 each for their creative works in the Under 21 category. And a special non-cash award was presented to nine-year-old Jacinta Odoemene for her essay about a trip to Africa.
While Metro Éireann congratulates the above winners for their achievements, those who were unsuccessful should not be disappointed as they will have another opportunity to flex their creative muscles, with details of the next Metro Éireann Writing Award being announced soon.
Finally, we would like to use this opportunity to sincerely thank our judge Roddy Doyle – who has been writing for Metro Éireann since 2000 – for his part in helping immigrants in Ireland. It will be impossible for any writer to match his contributions.

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