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The Plaza Prize-winners

The Plaza Prize-winners

THE PLAZA POETRY PRIZE (20 LINES) 2024

1st: PAUL McMAHON (IRE)

THE BAT CAVE

Winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Prize, 2023, Paul was also awarded The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize by Carol Ann Duffy and The Nottingham Open Poetry Prize by Neil Astley. Other awards include 1st prize in The Moth International Poetry Prize, 1st prize in The Westival International Poetry Prize, and bursary awards for poetry from The Arts Councils of Ireland and N. Ireland. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Poetry Review, Rialto, London Magazine, Threepenny Review, and Best New British and Irish Poets.

2nd: MICHAEL FARREN (ENG)

TIDDLERS

My short stories have recently been published in Some Assembly Required, while my poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House and the Valley Press Anthology of Yorkshire Poetry (alongside poets such as Carol Ann Duffy and Ian McMillan).

My debut poetry pamphlet, Pierrot and His Mother, was published by Templar Poetry in 2017, following a launch event at Keats House in London. I am one of the hosts of the Rhubarb Open Mic night at the Triangle, Shipley, a member of Beehive Poets and Wharfedale Poets, and on the board of the Bradford Poetry Foundation.

3rd: JULIE SHERIDAN (SCO/ESP)

ROCKING CHAIR SONG

Raised on the west coast of Scotland, Julie was fascinated by Spanish as a child and spent her pocket money on pocket dictionaries. After graduating in Hispanic Studies from the University of Glasgow, she settled in Edinburgh before moving to Barcelona in 2011. Her work has been published in journals including Lines Review, Poetry Scotland, Poetry Ireland Review and Causeway/Cabhsair, as well as anthologised in Unbridled. Most recently, one of her poems secured fourth place as ‘highly commended’ in the Welsh International Poetry Competition with another winning third prize in the McLellan Poetry Competition. She’s currently working towards her first collection.

Highly Commended: JENNY POLLAK (AUS)

HOW EVERY DAY BEGINS

For most of her life Jenny Pollak has been a full time artist, focusing her arts practice in photography, sculpture and video installation. In 2012 she began a poetry practice, and has since been published in various journals and anthologies, including Meanjin; the Australian Poetry Journal; Red Room Poetry; Plumwood Mountain; and Australian Award Winning Writing. She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Fish Poetry Prize, and the Newcastle Poetry Prize, among others. In 2016 she won the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize. Shadowplay, a collaborative poem written with the British Poet Philip Gross, was published as a pamphlet book by Flarestack Poets, UK, in 2018. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry.

Competition Judge: RORY WATERMAN

THE PLAZA SHORT STORY (8000 WORDS) 2024

1st: CLAYTON BRADSHAW-MITTAL (USA)

THE TWO THINGS BASSIE SAID

Clayton Bradshaw-Mittal is a queer, previously unhoused veteran who holds an MFA and a PhD in Creative Writing. They are a 2024 MASS MoCA Fellow and alum of the Vermont Studio Center. Their fiction can be found in Story, Fairy Tale Review, F(r)iction, and elsewhere. Additional work appears in The Rumpus, Barrelhouse, Consequence, and other journals. They teach at the University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash and are the Managing Editor of New Ohio Review.

2nd: TAMAKO TAKAMATSU (JAP)

DEMONS AND MONKEYS

Tamako Takamatsu grew up in Tennessee and Texas but has lived most of her adult life in Tokyo.

She was recently shortlisted for the Spotlight First Novel Award 2021, sponsored by Adventures in Fiction in the U.K.

3rd: TERRY WATADA (CAN)

DICK AND GEORGE

Terry Watada is the author of two previous novels, The Three Pleasures and The Blood of Foxes, a collection of short fiction, Daruma Days, four books of poetry, two children’s books, the nonfiction title Bukkyo Tozen: A History of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in Canada 1905 – 1995, and two manga style comic books. Terry is also a musician and recording artist. Mr. Watada lives in Toronto.

Highly Commended: MATTHEW HURT (IRE)

A RESURRECTION IN SOAP

Matthew is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and short story writer. His plays have been produced across the UK and internationally. For the screen, he has written several episodes of EastEnders (BBC One) and has three feature length screenplays under commission.

Hello Muscles, his short film, has just started playing on the festival circuit. It has won several awards including Best UK Short at the Manchester Film Festival and an audience award and an honourable mention for Best Live Action Short at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

His short story – A Man in Half – was placed second in the Costa Short Story Awards. He has also written two plays for BBC Radio 4 and is the writer and co-creator of the web series UnPacking.

Matthew’s last play, The Man Jesus, premiered at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, prior to a UK tour and was nominated for an Irish Times Best New Play award. Subsequent productions have been staged at the Market Theatre (Johannesburg), the Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees (in Afrikaans) and in Rome (in Italian).

Competition Judge: REMY NGAMBIJE

THE PLAZA SUDDEN FICTION PRIZE 2024

1st: CHERYL O'BRIEN (ENG)

THE DISH RAN AWAY WITH THE SPOON

2nd: ALAN SINCIC (USA)

NOT FOR MAGGIE

A teacher at Valencia College, my fiction has appeared in Boulevard Online, New Ohio Review, The Greensboro Review, The Saturday Evening Post, Hunger Mountain, Big Fiction Magazine, A-3 Press, The Gateway Review, Cobalt, and elsewhere. Short stories of mine recently won contests sponsored by The Texas Observer, Driftwood Press, The Prism Review, Westchester Review, American Writer’s Review, Vincent Brothers Review, Pulp Literature, and Broad River Review.

After an MA in Lit at the University of Florida and a poetry fellowship at Columbia, I earned my MFA at Western New England University. I spent over a dozen years in NYC as a writer and performer—comic/satirical pieces that eventually became a pair of full-length plays (American Obsessions and Breaking Glass) at the Orlando International Fringe Festival.

3rd: KELLI SHORT BURGES (USA)

THE DOOR TO FATHER'S DEN

Kelli Short Borges is an award-winning writer with work published in multiple literary journals and anthologies. Her work has been selected for Best Microfiction, and nominated for Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions.

Kelli has always had a passion for reading, and was a reading specialist in the Arizona public school system for many years. Even so, she had never thought seriously about writing. But with a little encouragement from a great teacher and friend, she realized her passion for words extended beyond published books to getting her own stories on the page.

Since then, Kelli has written both fiction and non-fiction, and is currently working on her first novel.

Highly Commended: SUE DE FEU

SEVEN AGES OF THE BATHROOM CABINET

Competition Judge: ANGELA READMAN

THE PLAZA CRIME: FIRST CHAPTERS PRIZE 2024

1st: JUDE SIMMS (ENG)

DEAD IN THE WATER

After leaving a career in office administration and communications eight years ago, Jude has been focusing on writing her novel. She has also done academic proofreading and edited several novellas, and currently edits a creative arts magazine. Her undergraduate degree in 2015 was in English, followed in 2016 by a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Sheffield Hallam University. She is currently working on her application for a PhD in nineteenth century literature at Huddersfield University.
In 2010 Jude contributed a chapter on the history of Methodist Church’s women’s movement to the anthology Reshaping the Mission of Methodism (David Clark, ed.), and in 2013 she was awarded second prize in the Rubery Book Awards short story competition; her prize-winning story was published in the competition anthology On the Bench. Most recently, she has written two articles as a result of leading creative writing workshops.

2nd: CAMILLA MACPHERSON (ENG)

DUTCH COURAGE

Camilla Macpherson is a writer based in the UK. Her debut novel, Pictures at an Exhibition, was published by Random House and has been translated into Dutch, German and Polish. She has been recognised in a number of writing competitions including the Daily Mail First Novel Award 2008, the Bridport Prize, the Margery Allingham Crime Writers’ Association Short Story competition and the Fish Publishing prize. After many years living in London, Camilla recently spent five years in the Netherlands and is currently working on a novel set in war-time Holland. She lives with her husband and daughter, and enjoys cycling and reading detective fiction.

3rd: K. R. GOTO-SVIC (AUS)

NEON GHOSTS

Highly Commended: KEITH PORTER (WAL)

DEATH ASSURED

Biography: Welshman Keith Porter is a former policeman and loss adjuster who writes crime novels and short stories in various genres. He won the Crowvus Christmas Ghost Story competition in 2022 (for “Last Christmas”) and the 2022 Fiction Factory short story prize (“Cold Caller”). He was also short listed for the Margery Allingham Short Mystery in 2018 (“Finding Breda”) and made the long lists for the 2023 Cúirt New Writing Prize (Ireland) for “The Second Dimension” and Fiction Factory, again, with “The Argina”.

Competition Judge: DAVID MARK

THE PLAZA MEMOIR: FIRST CHAPTERS PRIZE 2024

1st: JUDE HO (ENG)

ENTER THE DRAGON LADY

J Lian Ho is a writer and documentary director focusing on gender, migration and belonging. Her films have won Royal Television Society Awards and two Grierson Award nominations. Her first screenplay was shortlisted in the BBC Wee Gems competition, and her plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio. She is currently developing a prose project with the support of an Arts Council England DYCP grant. She grew up in Croydon and after many years living in Scotland now lives in London.

2nd: NAZIR YACOOB (MAL)

NOBODY WALKS IN AMERICA ANYMORE

As a writer, I go by the name of Naz Yacoob. I was born in Mauritius and came to England as a child in 1961. I studied two university courses, History and Engineering. I have written three books: Nobody Walks in America (Part One and Part Two – a single volume) and a novel – Unveiling a Past Imperfect (yet to be published). I am presently working on a book of short stories/poems.
My recently published journey as a writer began at eighteen, and it has been a long and rewarding apprenticeship. I have dedicated myself to honing my craft and taking numerous creative writing courses. This commitment to my passion was balanced with the responsibilities of working and raising two children as a single parent. As a testament to my perseverance and dedication, ‘Nobody Walks in America’ (parts one and two), a four-thousand-mile trek across America, I did less than a decade ago. It was from Los Angeles to New Jersey, crossing thirteen states. The intensity of writing keeps me between four walls for lengthy periods. When a project is completed, I like to go on long walks—walking the Camino de Santiago twice a year, thinking, observing, taking it all in, and being out in the open.

3rd: REBECCA PLUME (ENG)

TRUE STORY OF A CIRCUS FREAK

Highly Commended: ALAN SINCIC (USA)

THE DRIVE-IN

A teacher at Valencia College, my fiction has appeared in Boulevard Online, New Ohio Review, The Greensboro Review, The Saturday Evening Post, Hunger Mountain, Big Fiction Magazine, A-3 Press, The Gateway Review, Cobalt, and elsewhere. Short stories of mine recently won contests sponsored by The Texas Observer, Driftwood Press, The Prism Review, Westchester Review, American Writer’s Review, Vincent Brothers Review, Pulp Literature, and Broad River Review.

After an MA in Lit at the University of Florida and a poetry fellowship at Columbia, I earned my MFA at Western New England University. I spent over a dozen years in NYC as a writer and performer—comic/satirical pieces that eventually became a pair of full-length plays (American Obsessions and Breaking Glass) at the Orlando International Fringe Festival.

Competition Judge: NICOLE TRESKA

THE PLAZA POETRY PRIZE (60 LINES) 2024

1st: JOHN D KELLY

LANDSWEPT

John D Kelly lives in Co. Fermanagh. His poetry has appeared in many literary
magazines and anthologies including Poetry Ireland Review, Magma, Cyphers,
Crannog, Skylight 47, The Honest Ulsterman, etc. Among several awards, he
won the Listowel Poetry Short Collection Award and also the Desmond
O’Grady International Poetry Competition, in 2020. His manuscript was highly
commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2016. Most recently he was
a finalist in the Montreal International Poetry Prize, 2022. His first collection:
The Loss Of Yellowhammers was published by Summer Palace Press in 2020.

2nd: DORA TAYLOR (JAM/ENG)

THE LAST RASTAMAN IN SPACE

Dora is a British-Jamaican writer, chef, food anthropologist and activist. Her poetry, prose and journalism engage with themes of nature, gender, race and community, and draw from the cultures and landscapes of her two homes. Her work is inspired by magical realism and science fiction, as well as traditions of radical imagination within her work in farming, food system campaigning and Black activism. She is a part of the Farmerama Radio team, a podcast that amplifies the voices of regenerative farmers, and a programmer for the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

3rd: JOSE BUERA (DOMR)

GASCUE: SOCORRO SANCHEZ CON SANTIAGO

José Buera is a Caribbean and Latinx poet from the Dominican Republic currently living in London. His poetry has appeared in the Berkeley Poetry Review, Konch, Magma, Wasafiri (forthcoming) and elsewhere. He won the 2024 Happiful Poetry Prize on the theme of mental health. Jose is the founder of the Empanada Poetry Salon, a bimonthly gathering of poets and cooking. When not in the UK, he can be found cooking with indigenous people on his online adventure cooking show Wild Kitchens (@wildkitchens).

Highly Commended: AUTUMN RICHARDSON (CAN)

THE LONG BEFORE

Autumn Richardson is a poet, translator, editor and publisher. Her poetry, texts and translations have been published widely in literary journals, pamphlets, anthologies, and exhibitions. Her work evolves from sustained immersion in specific landscapes and a research practice incorporating ecology, history, philosophy and ethnology. Since 2009 she has been co-director of multi-media publishing house Corbel Stone Press, with British artist Richard Skelton. Between 2013 and 2022 they curated the influential journal of eco-poetics and esoteric literature, Reliquiae. She has been awarded literary fellowships from The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Canada), The Wordsworth Trust (UK), and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland), among others. Her latest collection is Ajar To The Night (Scarlet Imprint). She lives in Connemara, Ireland.

Competition Judge: TIM LIARDET

THE PLAZA FLASH FICTION PRIZE 2024

1st: SHERRY CASSELLS (CAN)

MARVINS

Sherry Cassells is a writer of short stories who sometimes keeps going and the work becomes a novel-length literary thriller, or once the entire first season of a sit-com. She has also written novellas, two screenplays, is currently working on book two of a four-part comedy series, a funny blog and a lit blog, and always, the short stories. Her work has been honoured in major literary competitions, including a nomination for the 2023 Pushcart Prize, and published in journals, magazines and anthologies.

2nd: TODD MURPHY (ENG)

THE DEAD FOX AROUND HER NECK

Todd Murphy is an English writer, currently living in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He writes both prose and poetry and is currently working on his first novel.

Todd Murphy is interested in, what he likes to call, ‘Art with a capital A.’

He believes that this can best be achieved by combining the sublime with the utterly banal.

3rd: SHERRY CASSELLS (CAN)

3AM

Sherry Cassells is a writer of short stories who sometimes keeps going and the work becomes a novel-length literary thriller, or once the entire first season of a sit-com. She has also written novellas, two screenplays, is currently working on book two of a four-part comedy series, a funny blog and a lit blog, and always, the short stories. Her work has been honoured in major literary competitions, including a nomination for the 2023 Pushcart Prize, and published in journals, magazines and anthologies.

Highly Commended: ROGER VICKERY (AUS)

DARK COUSIN

I spent my primary school years in a one-teacher ‘bush’ classroom coexisting peacefully with different ages and backgrounds. That ideal lodged deep but left me unprepared for real life. I went to university at 16, ‘met the fools that a young fool meets’ (Jackson Browne), failed law and left with a BA and a ‘challenge addiction’. I have been a soldier (reluctant), international sailor (sub-standard), speech writer (OK), film maker (patchy), adult education teacher (satisfying) and… after re-studying… a barrister (pro bono). I’ve had the good fortune to win many prizes for poetry, fiction, scripts and textbooks and numerous short and long listings. In the past year, I have won the Thunderbolt Crime Poetry Award, Marjorie Barnard Short Story Prize, had a story in the 2023 Fish Anthology, been short-listed for the Bridport Poetry Prize, the Peter Carey Short Story Prize and the Calanthe Poetry Prize and been long listed for the FFF Flash Fiction Competition.

Competition Judge: DAVID GAFFNEY

THE PLAZA MICROFICTION PRIZE 2024

1st: CONOR MCANALLY (IRE)

TINY SPINES

Conor McAnally is an award-winning writer, performer, producer and TV director. Conor has produced thousands of factual and entertainment television shows for networks worldwide.. His TV shows have garnered 22 major awards including five British Academies and five from the Royal Television Society. In TV drama McAnally created, wrote, produced and directed the hybrid youth drama series Over The Wall for BBC. His short story The Psychiatrist’s Window was a prize winner in the South West Writers short story competition. His debut novel Bullets In The Water, a thriller set in Texas, was shortlisted in the Writers League of Texas manuscript competition. Conor’s passions include skydiving and gardening, motor racing, golf and poetry. He and his wife Kay have homes in Austin, Texas and Galway, Ireland.

2nd: KELLI SHORT BORGES (USA)

WHERE THEY HIDE

Kelli Short Borges is an award-winning writer with work published in multiple literary journals and anthologies. Her work has been selected for Best Microfiction, and nominated for Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions.

Kelli has always had a passion for reading, and was a reading specialist in the Arizona public school system for many years. Even so, she had never thought seriously about writing. But with a little encouragement from a great teacher and friend, she realized her passion for words extended beyond published books to getting her own stories on the page.

Since then, Kelli has written both fiction and non-fiction, and is currently working on her first novel.

3rd: CHRIS COTTOM (ENG)

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

Chris Cottom has spent the better half of his life outside Macclesfield, England, and once lived next door to JRR Tolkien. He’s won the Allingham Festival Flash Fiction Competition, the Hysteria Flash Fiction Competition, National Flash Fiction Day NZ’s Micro Madness, the Off the Rails 3 Minute Story Competition, the SWLF Fiction Competition, The Phare’s Flash Dash, The Retreat West Flash Fiction Prize, and contests with On The Premises, Pokrass Prompts, and Shooter Flash. He’s packed Christmas hampers in a Harrods basement, sold airtime for Radio Luxembourg, and served a twelve-year stretch as an insurance copywriter. He liked the writing job best.

Highly Commended: FIONA DIGNAN (ENG)

HOW TO CATCH LAMPUKI

Fiona Dignan started writing during lockdown to cope with the chaos of home-schooling four children. She writes poetry, flash and microfiction inspired by her experience of motherhood, place and identity.
She won The London Society poetry prize in 2023 and was shortlisted for the EHP Barnard Poetry Prize 2022. Her flash and microfiction has been placed in several competitions including Reflex, Retreat West and Propelling Pencil. She has been published in Mslexia, Popshot and Street Cake magazines.

Competition Judge: MEG POKRASS

THE PLAZA PROSE POETRY PRIZE 2024

1st: HEIDI KASA (USA)

THE BULLET RENAMES

Heidi Kasa is the author of the fiction chapbook Split (Monday Night Press, 2022). Her poem “The Bullet Cures” won the 2023 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. Kasa’s flash fiction collection The Beginners won the 2023 Digging Press Chapbook Contest, and is forthcoming in 2025. Her work has been a finalist for a Black Lawrence Press award and shortlisted for a Fractured Lit award. Kasa’s writing has appeared in the Mixed Bag of Tricks anthology and the journals Barrelhouse, The Racket, Meat for Tea, and Ruminate: The Waking, among others. She works as an editor and lives in the U.S. See more at www.heidikasa.com.

2nd: ABIGAIL OTTLEY (ENG)

A SURVIVOR DREAMS A NEW CAREER

Abigail Ottley is a former teacher who began writing poetry in the wake of life-changing illness. She was born in Essex into a tribe of Londoners but now lives in Penzance in Cornwall where she is a member of the all-female Mor Poetry Collective. Mor is the Cornish word for sea, which is a recurring theme in her work. Other themes include the past, especially the lost histories of working class women, mothers and mothering, and issues around voice and silencing. Twice featured in The Survivor Zine and a contributor to Magi Gibson’s Unbridled anthology, Abigail does not shy away from difficult themes. Her debut collection will be out with Gill and Mark Connors at Yaffle Press in the spring of 2025.

3rd: RÓISÍN LEGETT-BOHAN (IRE)

ANTICIPATION OF ANAPHYLAXIS

Róisín Leggett Bohan is a writer from Cork. In 2023 she was a finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, was shortlisted for FISH, and was placed third in Magma Poetry Editors’ Prize. Her work appears in Poetry Ireland Review, Banshee, Aesthetica, Magma, New Irish Writing, Southword, Amsterdam Quarterly, Poetry as Commemoration Jukebox, The Guthrie Gazette and elsewhere. Her poems have been commended/shortlisted for awards including the Allingham, Cúirt, Edward Thomas Poetry Competition, Fish, Hammond House, MLC Fool for Poetry Chapbook and Red Line. Róisín has been accepted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry School and is the grateful recipient of Arts Council funding, Cork City Arts funding, a Munster Literature and Dedalus Press Mentorship. She is a Poetry Ireland Introductions poet, a UCC graduate, and editor of HOWL New Irish Writing.

Highly Commended: NEIL DOUGLAS (ENG)

WHILE I AM AWAY

Neil Douglas is a retired GP/Community Paediatrician who came late to poetry via creative writing classes at the City Lit, London. His poems have been published in magazines and anthologies in the UK, North America and Hong Kong. His work has also been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in both poetry and flash fiction categories and longlisted in the National Poetry competition. He has recently graduated with an MA in Life and Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College.

Competition Judge: CARRIE ETTER

THE PLAZA SHORT STORY PRIZE (5000 WORDS)

1st: CONOR MONTAGUE (IRE)

THE OUTLAW FIDO McGOWAN

Conor Montague is from Galway. His fiction has appeared in Shooter Literary Magazine, The Lonely Crowd, HOWL: New Irish Writing, Galway Stories (Doire Press), Noir by Noir West: Dark Tales from the West of Ireland (Arlen House), The Real Jazz Baby (Reflex) Beguiled by a Wild Thing (Reflex) A Girl’s Guide to Fly Fishing (Reflex), Snow Crow (Ad Hoc Fiction), Sticks and Stones (Oxford Flash Fiction Prize) Survival: Award Winning Stories (Hammond House). He has been placed/shortlisted in numerous competitions, including The Bridport Prize, The Writer’s Bureau Short Story Competition, The Fish Prize, The V.S. Pritchett Short Story Award and Hammond House International Literary Prize.
Capital Vices, Conor’s debut collection of short fiction, was published by Reflex Press in September ’23
Conor digs for gold in London Town, where he facilitates the Fail Better writing workshops for London Writers Eclective and is resident playwright at the Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith.

2nd: SIMON ROBERTS (ENG)

DIRTY CHICKEN & RICE

Simon is currently based in West London and writes short stories and flash fiction. He was nominated for the 2022 Fish Short Story Prize, the 2023 Bridport Short Story Prize, and the Cranked Anvil Short Story Prize in January 2024. He has read his work on Riverside Radio, London’s largest community radio station, and Story Radio Podcast. Simon also writes for the theatre. His adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s 1947 novel, The Slaves of Solitude, received its premiere at the Questors Theatre in May 2024.

3rd: LUCY FIELDING (ENG)

THE POMEGRANATE LADY

Lucy is a mechanical engineer who enjoys words. She wrote her first short story when she was seven and it was terrible. Several decades later, she had another go at writing and it went much better. In 2023 she was longlisted in the Creative Writing Ink Short Story Competition, and in 2024 her work was Highly Commended in the Elmbridge Literary Competition. When not writing or engineering, Lucy likes to play Dungeons and Dragons, although her preference is always to have adventures in the real world instead. Becoming an author is her next big challenge, and her next big dream.

Highly Commended: CHARLES KITCHING (ENG)

BROKEN DOWN MESSIAHS

Charles has written since childhood. He studied Philosophy at University, followed by a MA in Representation and Modernity. He has had careers in Universities, in contemporary circus / physical theatre, historic conservation and running a GP practice’s dispensary. Apart from writing, his main interests are in photography, art, history and his cats.

Competition Judge: VANESSA ONWUEMEZI

THE PLAZA POETRY PRIZE (40 LINES)

1st: JULIE SHERIDAN (SCO/ESP)

PUCK'S GLEN

Raised on the west coast of Scotland, Julie was fascinated by Spanish as a child and spent her pocket money on pocket dictionaries. After graduating in Hispanic Studies from the University of Glasgow, she settled in Edinburgh before moving to Barcelona in 2011. Her work has been published in journals including Lines Review, Poetry Scotland, Poetry Ireland Review and Causeway/Cabhsair, as well as anthologised in Unbridled. Most recently, one of her poems secured fourth place as ‘highly commended’ in the Welsh International Poetry Competition with another winning third prize in the McLellan Poetry Competition. She’s currently working towards her first collection.

2nd: JOHN D KELLY (N. IRE)

THE ELECTRIC WHOOPER

John D Kelly lives in Co. Fermanagh. His poetry has appeared in many literary
magazines and anthologies including Poetry Ireland Review, Magma, Cyphers,
Crannog, Skylight 47, The Honest Ulsterman, etc. Among several awards, he
won the Listowel Poetry Short Collection Award and also the Desmond
O’Grady International Poetry Competition, in 2020. His manuscript was highly
commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2016. Most recently he was
a finalist in the Montreal International Poetry Prize, 2022. His first collection:
The Loss Of Yellowhammers was published by Summer Palace Press in 2020.

3rd: MELISSA KNOX EVANS (ENG)

WHEN OUR APPROXIMATE...

Melissa Knox Evans grew up in Rome and now lives in Oxford, UK. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Barzakh Magazine, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Broad River Review, and elsewhere. She was a finalist in the 2024 Rash Award in Poetry and won the 2024 Equinox Poetry Prize. Evans is editor of science and arts publication, SEISMA Magazine, and is currently working towards her first pamphlet.

Highly Commended: DEIG SULLIVAN (USA)

THE LAST MEATPACKER, NYC

Deig Sullivan is a writer who also works in the field of cultural strategy. She and her family divide their time between New York City and Dutchess County (upstate). Deig’s work is featured in publications including Pensive, Naugatuck River Review, and Main Street Rag. She is a graduate of Brown University.

Competition Judge: MONIZA ALVI

The Plaza Short Story Prize (8000 words max)

1st: Camilla Macpherson (ENG)

Hitler's Alligator

Camilla Macpherson is a writer based in the UK. Her debut novel, Pictures at an Exhibition, was published by Random House and has been translated into Dutch, German and Polish. She has been recognised in a number of writing competitions including the Daily Mail First Novel Award 2008, the Bridport Prize, the Margery Allingham Crime Writers’ Association Short Story competition and the Fish Publishing prize. After many years living in London, Camilla recently spent five years in the Netherlands and is currently working on a novel set in war-time Holland. She lives with her husband and daughter, and enjoys cycling and reading detective fiction.

2nd: Stewart Green (ENG)

Smoke Jumpers

A number of years ago whilst on holiday I stumbled upon a small stall that was selling printed feature length screenplays. I bought ‘Rocky’ for $20! I loved it and felt compelled to write my own. I’ve written two feature length screenplays and written a handful of short stories. I am currently working on a novelette- length piece of fiction.
Aside from writing I’m a Police Detective based in the UK with my wife, 2 children and our black Labrador. When time allows I love being outdoors, in the mountains, climbing, running and cold water swimming.

3rd: Marcus Schneider (CAN)

Thundersnow

MJR Schneider is a twenty-four year old writer hailing from the Rural Municipality of St. Clements in Manitoba, Canada. He is currently an undergraduate at the University of Manitoba, double majoring in English literature and philosophy. He has studied abroad in Germany and the United States and speaks German, French and even some English. Until recently his work had only been published in the UofM’s Arts Tribune; it wasn’t until late 2022 that he began submitting entries to international literary contests, becoming a finalist for the first time in the Plaza Short Story Prize. Literarily, he has taken a great deal of inspiration from the likes of Flannery O’Connor, Kafka, Walser, Hamsun and Ryunosuke Akutagawa (among others) as well as from the peculiarities of his own native province and family history.

Highly Commended: Sherry Cassells (CAN)

The Beatniks Next Door

Sherry Cassells is a writer of short stories who sometimes keeps going and the work becomes a novel-length literary thriller, or once the entire first season of a sit-com. She has also written novellas, two screenplays, is currently working on book two of a four-part comedy series, a funny blog and a lit blog, and always, the short stories. Her work has been honoured in major literary competitions, including a nomination for the 2023 Pushcart Prize, and published in journals, magazines and anthologies.

Competition Judge: Roland Watson-Grant

The Plaza Sudden Fiction Prize (1500 words max)

1st: Fiona Dignan (ENG)

Small Deceits

Fiona Dignan started writing during lockdown to cope with the chaos of home-schooling four children. She writes poetry, flash and microfiction inspired by her experience of motherhood, place and identity.
She won The London Society poetry prize in 2023 and was shortlisted for the EHP Barnard Poetry Prize 2022. Her flash and microfiction has been placed in several competitions including Reflex, Retreat West and Propelling Pencil. She has been published in Mslexia, Popshot and Street Cake magazines.

2nd: Alan McCormick (IRE)

Boys on Film

Alan McCormick lives in Wicklow. He’s a trustee of InterAct Stroke Support who read fiction and poetry to stroke patients. Earlier this year he was awarded an Irish Arts Council Literature Bursary to work on a book of creative non-fiction.

His writing can be read in recent issues of The Stinging Fly, Banshee, Southword, Exacting Clam and Sonder; Best British Short Stories, Popshot and Confingo; and online at 3:AM Magazine, Fictive Dream, Dead Drunk Dublin, Mono, Words for the Wild and Époque Press. His story, ‘Fire Starter’, came second in last year’s RTÉ Story Competition in honour of Francis MacManus.

3rd: Robert Tateson (SCO)

Comrade Brunhilde

Robert Tateson was born in Rotherham and studied genetics at Edinburgh
University. After working at the Sick Children’s Hospital as a research
scientist, he ‘dropped out’ and went back to Sheffield to work in a
steel rolling mill. Eventually he was washed up on the shores of Orkney
where he supported himself and his family by working as a coal-man,
chimney-sweep, docker, crofter and milkman before surrendering to fate
and becoming the maths/science teacher on the small island of Stronsay.
After thirty five years on Orkney he retired with his cat to
Kinlochbervie where he enjoys writing short stories and growing
vegetables.

Highly Commended: Sherry Cassells (CAN)

Emily by the Lake

Sherry Cassells is a writer of short stories who sometimes keeps going and the work becomes a novel-length literary thriller, or once the entire first season of a sit-com. She has also written novellas, two screenplays, is currently working on book two of a four-part comedy series, a funny blog and a lit blog, and always, the short stories. Her work has been honoured in major literary competitions, including a nomination for the 2023 Pushcart Prize, and published in journals, magazines and anthologies.

Competition Judge: Tara Laskowski

The Plaza Crime: First Chapters Prize

1st: Michael Lynch (ENG)

The Hour of Our Death

Michael Lynch was born in Bedfordshire England. He was shortlisted for the Colm Toibin Short Story Prize in 2018 and 2019. He was long listed in the Bridport Prize Short Story Prize 2021. He was 3rd in the Hastings First 1000 Words Novel Prize in 2021. He has published two volumes of poetry, Transparency: 60 Poems (2021) and small moments (2022). He is proud to say that the Plaza Prize First Chapters Prize is his first outright win.
He is currently an  English tutor in the Prison Education Services, and has four children.
The Hour of Our Death is his first novel which he is hoping to finish this year!

2nd: Caro Griffin (IRE)

The Grey Zone

Caro Griffin lives in London and Maine. She recently completed an MSt in Crime and Thriller Writing at Cambridge University. Her short story ‘Winter’ won PaperBound Magazine’s Writing Prize, and her story ‘Bones’ was one of the winners of the 2021 City Writes competition, sponsored by City, University of London. Her first novel, Lobster Wars, is about two boys who witness a murder on a remote island off the coast of Maine. The Grey Zone is a fast-paced, contemporary crime novel that also takes place in coastal Maine.

3rd: Rudy Thauberger (CAN)

Flex

Highly Commended: Mary Shovelin (BEL)

Restricted

Competition Judge: Sam Blake

The Plaza Memoir: First Chapters Prize

1st: Sheena Wilkinson (N.IRE)

Plan B

Described in The Irish Times as ‘one of our foremost writers for young people’, Sheena Wilkinson has published eight novels, both contemporary and historical, as well as short stories. She has won many awards, including the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year. In 2012 Sheena was granted a Major Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Sheena lives in rural Northern Ireland and when she’s not writing she’s usually dog-walking or singing, sometimes both at once. Her first novels for adults, Mrs Hart’s Marriage Bureau, is published by Harper Collins Ireland in March 2023.

2nd: Gabriela Blandy (ENG)

12 Reasons to be Yourself

Gabriela is a writer and performer. She has been awarded the Royal Society of Literature V S Pritchett award and is published alongside Sarah Waters in Virago’s collection of ghostly tales, Something was There. After receiving a First Class degree in History, Gabriela trained at Drama Studio London where she was awarded student of the year. In 2007, she completed an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction, and co-founded writLOUD, a literary event based in London (now called Hubbub). Currently, she teaches ‘writing out loud’ for MA students at Oxford University, as well as hosting her own workshops for writers. She also provides mentoring services for writers.

Gabriela is the Assistant Director at The John Osborne Arvon Centre for Writers.

3rd: Nicola Godlieb (ENG)

An Evolution of the Eye

Nicola Godlieb writes poetry, memoir and fiction between London and the northwest of England. She has taught filmmaking with young people in Further Education for 18 years. She has been shortlisted for The Poetry Business International Pamphlet Prize and three times for the Bridport Flash Prize. Her work can be found in anthologies at Public Sector Poetry, Bath Flash Fiction, Reflex Flash Fiction and Oxford Flash Fiction.

 

Highly Commended: Russell Porter (AUS)

Lucho's Kaleidoscope

Competition Judge: Toby Litt

The Plaza Poetry Prize (60 lines max)

1st: Diana Cant (ENG)

Eating Seafood in Margate

Diana Cant is a poet and child psychotherapist living in rural Kent. She has an MA in Poetry from Newcastle University / The Poetry School. Her poems have been published in various anthologies and magazines including Agenda, Finished Creatures, Poetry News, The Alchemy Spoon and The North.
In 2021 she was voted Canterbury People’s Poet and, in 2023, was nominated for the Forward Prize (best individual poem). She is a regular reviewer for The Alchemy Spoon, and was its first guest editor. Her pamphlet, Student Bodies 1968, was published in 2020 by Clayhanger Press, and her second pamphlet, At Risk – the lives some children live, was published by Dempsey and Windle in 2021.

2nd: Jenny Pollak (AUS)

On Building a House

For most of her life Jenny Pollak has been a full time artist, focusing her arts practice in photography, sculpture and video installation. In 2012 she began a poetry practice, and has since been published in various journals and anthologies, including Meanjin; the Australian Poetry Journal; Red Room Poetry; Plumwood Mountain; and Australian Award Winning Writing. She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Fish Poetry Prize, and the Newcastle Poetry Prize, among others. In 2016 she won the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize. Shadowplay, a collaborative poem written with the British Poet Philip Gross, was published as a pamphlet book by Flarestack Poets, UK, in 2018. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry.

3rd: Carlotta Riechmann (ENG))

Waiting for You with a Clementine in Montmartre

Carlotta Riechmann’s poems have appeared in journals such as Blue Marble Review, t’ART Magazine, Intangible, and more. She graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2022 with an MA in French and English Literature. After graduating, Carlotta spent two semesters as a language assistant at the University of Toulouse in France, where she held English creative writing workshops. She is currently working on a debut pamphlet.

Highly Commended: Bríd Murphy (IRE)

The Bungalows Dream

Bríd Murphy is a graduate of University College, Cork, where she studied English and Irish language and literature. She writes in various forms and teaches English in a secondary school in the south-east of Ireland. The Plaza Poetry Prize is her first “Highly Commended” award in a poetry competition. Bríd has also written a middle-grade novel, set in Dublin, and is currently seeking representation for it while she continues to write poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. She lives in Co. Waterford with her husband and teenage son.

 

Competition Judge: Richard Skinner

The Plaza Literary: First Chapters Prize

1st: Shelley Trower (ENG)

Ghost Snow & River

Shelley Trower is Professor Emeritus of English Literature at the University of Roehampton. Books include Senses of Vibration (2012), Rocks of Nation (2015), and Sound Writing (2023). Projects include the AHRC-funded Memories of Fiction and Living Libraries (2014-2020). Along with numerous academic publications she has also published creative non-fiction and fiction in magazines, journals and edited books, including The Big Issue, Life Writing, Australian Humanities Review, Sonic Faction, and Fictive Dream. Since taking voluntary redundancy she has found more time to write creatively, most recently publishing short stories including ‘Seagulls’ in Litro Magazine (2022 and nominated for the Pushcart Prize) while completing what she hopes will be her first novel, Ghost Snow & River. She also works freelance and as a part-time bid writer at the University of Plymouth. More at linktr.ee/shelleytrower

2nd: Kieran Marsh (IRE)

The Recipe of You

Kieran Marsh’s short fiction has been published, shortlisted and featured broadly in magazines and newspapers including New Irish Writing, RTE’s Arena program and most recently the Froom Literary Festival Competition. His novel, The Recipe of You, was shortlisted for the Flash 500 novel competition and got an honorary mention from the IWC for their Novel Fair. He is currently completing a Masters in Creative Writing in DCU. More information and links to published work on http://gooseberryseason.com.

3rd: Mary Brzustowicz (USA)

Madrid Haunts

Mary Brzustowicz is an American writer and essayist. Her tale about dancing with the Prince of Spain was published in Mused: Bella Online.  Rochester Spoken Word Collection published Mary’s short story about Shirley Jackson, and “Country Roads” was a semifinalist in The Writer Magazine Short Story contest.

 

Brzustowicz writes about growing up in a large family and her too-frequent domestic disasters in her blog, “Keep Mary Out of the Kitchen”.

Highly Commended: Jo Morey (ENG)

Lime Juice Money

Competition Judge: Simon Trewin

The Plaza Prose Poetry Prize

1st: Jude Willetts (ENG)

The Art of Leaning

Jude Willetts lives and works in London, UK. She has been shortlisted in several pamphlet and single poem competitions, including the Bridport Prize. Recently she has been exploring and experimenting with prose poetry and is currently working on her first collection of prose poems.

2nd: Helen Pletts (ENG)

The Laughter of Rats

Helen’s two early collections, Bottle bank and For the Chiding Dove, were published by YWO/Legend Press (supported by The Arts Council) and available on Amazon.
Also published in Aesthetica, Orbis, The Fenland Reed.
Helen’s poetry was longlisted for The Rialto Nature and Place Competition 2018 and 2022.
Helen was Longlisted for the 2019 Ginkgo Prize competition.
Helen’s poetry was Shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2018, 2019 and 2022.
Longlisted for The National Poetry Competition 2022.

3rd: David Terelinck (AUS)

Have You Ever Fucked a Turtle?

David Terelinck is an Australian poet nefarious for holding words hostage on a page until they agree to become a poem. On the odd occasion, a ransom is paid to him in prize money. A lover of gin & tonic and long beach and rainforest walks, David feels we need more poetry less politics, and firmly believes dolphins should be running the planet.

Highly Commended: Oliver Sedano-Jones (ENG)

Vision Sonata Without Coda

Competition Judge: Maya C. Popa

The Plaza Flash Fiction Prize (1000 words max)

1st: Azaria Brown (USA)

Waterman-Men

A. Brown is a writer from coastal Virginia. She was a TED Residency Finalist in 2018 and a recipient of the MVICW Author Fellowship. In 2022, A. became a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and she was the first place winner of the Plaza Prizes International Flash Fiction Contest. A. is also a PhD candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Entropy Magazine, Honey Literary, Revolution Publication, Awake and Black Joy Unbound: An Anthology.

2nd: Barbara Black (CAN)

Ove Eriksson

Barbara Black’s work has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Geist, The Hong Kong Review, Prairie Fire, and CV2, and in many anthologies, including Bath Flash Fiction Award 2020. Achievements include: Fiction Finalist, 2020 National Magazine Awards; Winner, 2017 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition; Winner, Federation of BC Writers Contests (Prose Poem) 2018 and (Flash Fiction) 2021/2022; and Shortlisted for the 2023 Edinburgh Flash Fiction Award. Her debut short story collection Music from a Strange Planet was a 2023 International Book Awards Finalist (Best New Fiction); 2023: Indie Reader Discovery Award Winner (Short Story Collection); 2023: Firebird Book Awards Winner (New Fiction) and Winner (Short Stories); 2023: Sunshine Coast Writers & Editors Society Book Award Winner (Fiction); and 2022: The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Winner (Adult Fiction). Her flash and microfiction collection Little Fortified Stories is forthcoming in spring 2024.

3rd: Katalin Abrudan (ENG)

Strangely Familiar

Born in Hungary in 1964, Katalin has lived in her second home, the UK, on and off for over twenty years. She has an M.A. in Theology and an M.A. in English Language and Literature. She is a Steiner Waldorf teacher and has also trained as a literary translator. Katalin has been a freelance English-Hungarian-English literary translator, editor and reviewer since 1999. Her translations include works by P.G. Wodehouse, Henry James, Arthur Machen, Keith Roberts, Lucy Foley, Mick Herron, Steve Cavanagh, Jesse Andrews and others. Her dream is to translate Hungarian literature into English. In her spare time she works on her creative writing and goes swimming every day. She lives in the New Forest with her very talented husband, an artisan leatherworker. Her older daughter is a Cambridge graduate in illustration and her younger daughter is training to be a chef. Katalin loves Hungarian vizslas.

Highly Commended: Aparna Parthasarthy (USA)

The Dark Alleys of Sonagachi

Competition Judge: Meg Pokrass

The Plaza Microfiction Prize (300 words max)

1st: Barbara Black (CAN)

What She Heard As Music

Barbara Black’s work has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Geist, The Hong Kong Review, Prairie Fire, and CV2, and in many anthologies, including Bath Flash Fiction Award 2020. Achievements include: Fiction Finalist, 2020 National Magazine Awards; Winner, 2017 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition; Winner, Federation of BC Writers Contests (Prose Poem) 2018 and (Flash Fiction) 2021/2022; and Shortlisted for the 2023 Edinburgh Flash Fiction Award. Her debut short story collection Music from a Strange Planet was a 2023 International Book Awards Finalist (Best New Fiction); 2023: Indie Reader Discovery Award Winner (Short Story Collection); 2023: Firebird Book Awards Winner (New Fiction) and Winner (Short Stories); 2023: Sunshine Coast Writers & Editors Society Book Award Winner (Fiction); and 2022: The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Winner (Adult Fiction). Her flash and microfiction collection Little Fortified Stories is forthcoming in spring 2024.

2nd: Hongwei Bao (ENG)

A Postcard From Berlin

Hongwei Bao grew up in China and lives in Nottingham, UK. He studied Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, and creative writing at City Lit, London. He uses poetry, short stories and creative nonfiction to explore issues of queer desire, Asian identity, gender politics and transcultural intimacy. His work has appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Ponder Review, Positions Politics, Shanghai Literary Review, The Autoethnographer, The Sociological Review, Voice & Verse, Write On and Words Without Borders. His nonfiction ‘Fragrant Bananas’ is forthcoming with the Allegory Ridge Nonfiction Anthology Allegheny.

3rd: Marie Gethins (IRE)

Banishing Maddo

Marie Gethins work has featured in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, 2014 National Flash Fiction Day anthology, The Incubator, Firewords and Control Literary. She won or placed in Flash500, Tethered by Letters flash, Dromineer Literary Festival, The New Writer Microfiction, Prick of the Spindle and 99fiction.net. Other pieces have been listed in the Doris Gooderson, Fish Short Story/Flash/Memoir, Listowel Writers Week Originals, James Plunkett Award, Words with JAM, Inktears, RTE/Penguin, Lightship, and WOW! Award competitions. She lives in Cork, Ireland, working on her Master of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.

Highly Commended: Conor Montague (IRE))

An Evening With Bono

Conor Montague is from Galway. His fiction has appeared in Shooter Literary Magazine, The Lonely Crowd, HOWL: New Irish Writing, Galway Stories (Doire Press), Noir by Noir West: Dark Tales from the West of Ireland (Arlen House), The Real Jazz Baby (Reflex) Beguiled by a Wild Thing (Reflex) A Girl’s Guide to Fly Fishing (Reflex), Snow Crow (Ad Hoc Fiction), Sticks and Stones (Oxford Flash Fiction Prize) Survival: Award Winning Stories (Hammond House). He has been placed/shortlisted in numerous competitions, including The Bridport Prize, The Writers Bureau Short Story Competition, The Fish Prize, The V.S. Pritchett Short Story Award and Hammond House International Literary Prize.
Conor’s debut collection of short fiction, Capital Vices (Reflex Press) will be published on 22 Sept ’23.

Competition Judge: Carrie Etter

The Plaza Short Story Prize (5000 words max)

1st: Lou Kramskoy (ENG)

Dark Birdy Eyes

Lou Kramskoy is a London-based Animation Screenwriter with a background in Film and Television. In 2018 she graduated MA Creative Writing at Birkbeck winning both Departmental Awards – Sophie Warne Fellowship for Outstanding Graduate and Birkbeck Creative Writing Prize for Best Dissertation. Whilst on the MA she focused on short stories, some of which have won Awards (Aesthetica) whilst others have been long-listed (London and Bristol Short Story Prizes). In 2019 she won a place on The London Library Emerging Writer Programme. In 2020 her work was longlisted for UEA New Forms Award (from National Center for Writing), an early career award for writers whose fiction ‘explores the boundaries of possibility.’ She is currently just completing her first novel. The novel was shortlisted and highly commended in Writers and Artists Working Class Prize 2020 and in 2021 it won the Retreat West First Chapters Prize, judged by Sam Jordison of Galley Beggar Press.

2nd: J.B. Rex (USA)

The Horse

J.B. Rex was shortlisted in the 2023 ChipLitFest Short Story Competition, longlisted in the Fish Publishing 2022 Short Story Prize, won 2nd place in the 2018 Bluecat Screenplay Competition, was a finalist in the 2017 Screencraft Horror Screenplay Contest, and was published in the Conte Online literary journal. He spent 15 years in Boston working as a preschool teacher and playing music in a touring rock band (Charlene circa 1997 – 2008), as well as co-running a recording studio (Dented Head Studios) and an independent music label (SharkAttack! Music). He is currently a psychotherapist in private practice. J.B. Rex lives in Pennsylvania with his wonderful wife and two cats. He goes to the skatepark every weekend to ride his skateboard with all the youngsters, but has not perfected his frontside half cab kickflip, yet.

3rd: Sinead ni Braoin (IRE)

Cedok 87

Sinéad Ní Braoin divides her time between Donegal and France. Her short stories have been longlisted for the Bridport Prize and The White Review Short Story Prize. She was Highly Commended in the Maria Edgeworth Short Story Competition and The Dillydoun Review Flash Fiction Prize. This year she won 3rd Prize in the Plaza Short Story Competition. She plays bass in the rock band, Innocents Abroad.

Highly Commended: Masha Kamenetskaya (HUN)

The Letter Lady

Masha Kamenetskaya is a publisher, editor and a writer, living in Budapest (Hungary). She runs a literary and arts magazine “Panel”, manages cultural and art events. Her short stories have featured such publications as Verses of Silence, Flying Ketchup Press (the anthology Tales from the Dream Zone), 45 Magazine Women’s Literary Journal, Budapest Local, and others. The collection of short stories On The Set was published by Duck Lake Books (USA) in 2020.

 

Competition Judge: Annie DeWitt

The Plaza Poetry Prize (40 lines max)

1st: Maria Castro Dominguez (ESP)

Sweet Bananas

Maria Castro Dominguez is the author of ‘A Face in The Crowd’ her Erbacce–press winning collection and ‘Ten Truths from Wonderland’ (Hedgehog Poetry Press) a collaboration with Matt Duggan. Winner of the third prize in Brittle Star´s Poetry Competition 2018. Finalist in the 2019 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry contest NY and was highly commended in the Borderlines Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals such as Apogee, Orbis, The Long-Islander Huntington Journal NY, Popshot, PANK, Empty Mirror, Live Encounters, The Chattahoochee Review and Salamander Magazine.

2nd: Jenny Pollak (AUS)

How to lose a whole forest

For most of her life Jenny Pollak has been a full time artist, focusing her arts practice in photography, sculpture and video installation. In 2012 she began a poetry practice, and has since been published in various journals and anthologies, including Meanjin; the Australian Poetry Journal; Red Room Poetry; Plumwood Mountain; and Australian Award Winning Writing. She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Fish Poetry Prize, and the Newcastle Poetry Prize, among others. In 2016 she won the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize. Shadowplay, a collaborative poem written with the British Poet Philip Gross, was published as a pamphlet book by Flarestack Poets, UK, in 2018. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry.

3rd: Pete Concahsmith (ENG)

The wheels of my wagon are possibly square

I live in Southwest England with my wife and young son. I’ve been writing poetry since I was eight, when I was encouraged to write about spider monkeys by my teacher. My career took me in and out of archaeology, landscape gardening and house renovation, though I’ve landed back where I started and am trying poetry one more time before I move on to crafting medieval themed coffee mugs. I have had one published poem to date, in Current Archaeology.

Highly Commended: Wren Siofra Llloyd (ENG)

When You Feel So Very Small

Wren is an avid nature lover, poet, water-colour painter, homeopath, and mother living among the curlews, at her smallholding with her family in the spectacular Staffordshire Moorlands.
She wrote poetry from her early teens, with a big gap where she stopped being able to write. Beginning the process of recovering from dissociative amnesia in 2021, the well-spring re-opened at the end of the year and Wren has written 70+ poems to date, on the subjects of childhood trauma, love, loss and nature.
Her first 7 submissions have been long listed, and 4 of them shortlisted for The Plaza Poetry Prize (40 lines) & The Plaza Audio Poetry Prize. She received a commendation for ‘When You Feel So Very Small’.
She’s very excited to present her poems, which are often brutally honest, autobiographical & relatable poems about self acceptance, healing & the love of life and the Earth.

Competition Judge: Pascale Petit

The Plaza Audio Poetry Prize

1st: Julie Sheridan

The Men at My Fence (Sco/Esp)

Raised on the west coast of Scotland, Julie was fascinated by Spanish as a child and spent her pocket money on pocket dictionaries. After graduating in Hispanic Studies from the University of Glasgow, she settled in Edinburgh before moving to Barcelona in 2011. Her work has been published in journals including Lines Review, Poetry Scotland, Poetry Ireland Review and Causeway/Cabhsair, as well as anthologised in Unbridled. Most recently, one of her poems secured fourth place as ‘highly commended’ in the Welsh International Poetry Competition with another winning third prize in the McLellan Poetry Competition. She’s currently working towards her first collection.

2nd: John D. Kelly (N.Ire)

The Scallcrows

John D Kelly lives in Co. Fermanagh. His poetry has appeared in many literary
magazines and anthologies including Poetry Ireland Review, Magma, Cyphers,
Crannog, Skylight 47, The Honest Ulsterman, etc. Among several awards, he
won the Listowel Poetry Short Collection Award and also the Desmond
O’Grady International Poetry Competition, in 2020. His manuscript was highly
commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2016. Most recently he was
a finalist in the Montreal International Poetry Prize, 2022. His first collection:
The Loss Of Yellowhammers was published by Summer Palace Press in 2020.

3rd: Ashlee Paris-Jabang

The Leather Year (Eng/St Kitts)

‘Born in the UK, raised in the Federation of St.Kitts-Nevis, on the beautiful island of Nevis makes Mrs Ashlee Paris-Jabang 2nd generation Windrush. Mrs Jabang is a Creative Therapy Practitioner, Freelance Producer, Spoken Word Artist, Voiceover Artist, Filmmaker and Co-founder of Soulfully Creative. Her influential poetry on black culture and social injustices led to being a regular contributor to BBC Radio Derby and a Cohort member of the Momentum project by WeAreParable in collaboration with Channel 4. Mrs Jabang is a mommy to two Queens and a wife to her loving husband and he is the inspiration to her latest work of poetry exploring Black Love.

Highly Commended: Paul McMahon (Ire)

Tom's Pouch of Cure-stones

Winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Prize, 2023, Paul was also awarded The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize by Carol Ann Duffy and The Nottingham Open Poetry Prize by Neil Astley. Other awards include 1st prize in The Moth International Poetry Prize, 1st prize in The Westival International Poetry Prize, and bursary awards for poetry from The Arts Councils of Ireland and N. Ireland. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Poetry Review, Rialto, London Magazine, Threepenny Review, and Best New British and Irish Poets.

Competition Judge: Anthony Joseph