Ulysses. James Joyce. 2023 Young Writers annual Competition from the Museum of Childhood Ireland and Marsh’s Library Dublin.
The Museum of Childhood Ireland and Marsh’s Library, Dublin are delighted to announce that our finalists in the Bloomsday Young Writers Competition 2023 are!… 🎉
Sinéad, age 18, Co Dublin
Wai Man, age 16, Dublin
Angel, age 16, Sri Lanka
Esten, age 8, Dublin
Caterina, age 9, Cork
James, age 15, Dublin
Joby, age 10, Dublin
Florence, age 12, Dublin
Alex, age 14, Tipperary
Michael, age 13, Co Westmeath
And the shortlisted writers are: 🎉
Hugh, age 12, Co Dublin
Sadhbh, age 12, Co Dublin
Ella, age 12, Dublin
Marcus, age 12, Dublin
Jack, age 13, Dublin
David, age 13, Dublin
Sam, age 12, Co Dublin
Gabriel, age 12, Co Dublin
Eleni, age 12, Dublin
Conor, age 13, Newry
Joseph, age 10, Galway
Isabelle, age 7, Co Wicklow
Aamadu, age 7, Paris
Congratulations to you all!
Our heartfelt thanks to our incredible judges who had the unenviable task of trying to choose the finalists:
Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy, Hilary Fannin, Nathan Finn, Glenn Johnston, Dr Mary Lawton and Susie Lopez 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
Thank you to our team member Megan Brien for designing the award certificates.
As there were so many excellent stories submitted this year we’ve decided to highlight 23 of the stories submitted! 23 for 2023
We will be contacting the children ( via their parents / teachers / guardians) over the next few weeks, with feedback on the children’s work.
The Prize Giving ceremony will be held in Marsh’s Library on Friday 22nd September at 11.30 am.
All children listed will receive a bespoke certificate of participation, with book tokens/books and a special School Participation prize will be awarded to St Columba’s NS, North Strand.
Thank you to the wonderful sponsors of the competition: Colin Hand at Easons, Dúnlaoghaire for Book Tokens, Róisín Flemming at Tom Martin & Co for the wonderful selection of Faber Castell products, to Museum of Childhood Ireland’s generous friend Jennifer for beautiful book prizes, the Museum of Childhood Ireland and Marsh’s Library.
Award ceremony 2023
Guest judges: Nathan Finn and Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy with Julie Burke of Marsh’s Library
Did you ever think of Leopold Bloom as an epic hero? In Ulysses, the public and private Bloom seems incredibly ordinary, but his sympathetic nature and infinite capacity for compassion make him anything but. He is elevated to the status of hero over the course of the novel.
Bloom’s empathic nature, demonstrated especially in relation to animals…cats, birds, horses, dogs, echoes Odysseus’s ability to adapt to the many challenges he faces. Leopold Bloom’s compassion frequently dictates the course of his day, and the course of the novel.
We are asking children and youth this year, inspired by the character of Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, to empathise with and write an imaginative essay from the perspective of any animal, bird, insect they know, or that they have had an interaction with. If that story happens to include a reference/s to an unlikely hero we’ll be only delighted…
May your imaginations ripripple!
The Bloomsday stories:
Molly and Leo
Lately, Molly often walked alone at night. She’d been well aware of the risks for many years, but she couldn’t just seem to care anymore. Arching her back she padded along the margin of the deserted road. It was five AM and she couldn’t sleep again. The town was lifeless, no cars, no people, no dogs. She looked down at the cobbles beneath her as she ambled down what transformed in daylight into a very busy main street. Her gaze shifted to the lit windows of closed businesses, Hackett’s Bookmakers’, ‘Books on the Green’, Sandymount House, her thoughts spiralling darkly. In the reflection of the pane of glass she saw her gaunt feline visage, a bony silhouette. Molly knew she had been losing weight and strength – her outward appearance representative of how she felt on the inside.
Being digitigrade, the only noise to be heard as she made her way along the street was the occasional gust of wind rattling the Mace mini supermarket window shutters. Some days Molly was almost happy, other days still not so much. There never seemed to be a balance. There was something about the familiarity of Sandymount that she found comforting even at the deepest darkest part of the night. Though she’d once had many friends, recently she’d been distancing herself.
Of her last litter, there were no survivors to nurture. Bereft, she’d formed the conclusion that there was nothing left. She had nothing left to give since the last little one died. Slumped alone in the nest she’d lovingly fashioned behind the garden shed she’d blamed herself. She was an older cat now with none of the vigour of her youth. All her previous offspring had gone to the farthest reaches of the island, families of their own now. From neglect of her pelage her fur was matted and tangled. She bore scars too numerous to count now. Her once full and rounded belly, a loose and empty sack.
Sometimes she reminisced on times past, and then missed her old socialising, even if that was more dangerous now since the pandemic with more pet dogs about, but could never bring herself to look forward to going if there was a gathering. Molly did try. She’d convince herself, then catching sight of her reflection in a puddle or window she’d see a sad, ugly, emaciated, lonely tabby who just never looked quite right anymore, and she’d slink back into her nest, to lick her wounds in a desultory fashion. When she managed to force herself to go and hang out, she always left early. Shrugging off questions as to how she was feeling, or remaining silent in a group, she began to feel unwanted. She thought to herself ‘’No one would care if I lived or died. So what’s the point.”
She reached the end of the street.
Earlier that night something inside her had broken, leaving her confused.
Lying in a weak patch of sun in ‘her’ overgrown garden, she had heard voices from the new people, the Pold family, who’d recently moved in. Next she was aware of shade and very small boy in a wheelchair, dressed in an action hero costume, who had rolled over to her bearing a dish of tuna. “Poor, poor little kitty cat” he said reaching out to stroke her gently. She was too weary to move away. With the words of sympathy and the tender caresses Molly began to cry. Her sadness and loneliness all mirrored in the kind little boy called Leo’s heart- breaking tears for her that streamed down his cheeks. The child understood pain and loneliness too, she could sense that. But it was too much for her.
Gasping for air, she bolted across the neighbouring wall, the cold air like a sharp knife to her lungs.
Thinking back, she should’ve stayed and accepted the kindness. No matter. It was too late now. She was at the end of her journey. Her 9th life has been used years ago.
Molly reached the granite bridge, black in shadows save for where in places, the light of the street lamp reflected particles of mica in the stone. Reaching the wrought iron railings, close by the lifebuoy, she slipped between them, gazing seaward towards Wales in awe.
Lost in her own thoughts she hadn’t noticed until that moment, the glistening ball of fire in the eastern sky, rising phoenix-like before her. Everything was still and yet that wasn’t quite true, rather it seemed still…. She watched the dark night sky fade to a beautiful blend of yellow and pink and orange. Darkness became light, and suddenly the grass looked greener and the river flowing to the sea below, no longer grey but blue. A truly beautiful blue, like sunshine was blooming from within it.
Molly turning tail began the journey back ‘home’ to Leo.
Sinéad,age 18. Co Dublin
I’m the only ladybug in this backyard. I don’t understand why others of my species do not appear – perhaps because of the giant standalone beehouse on the north side of this dampy backyard. The backyard is of a three-piece family: A lonely beekeeper, a skippy son, and a not-so-interested mother, who I could see least in the backyard. The most frequent visitor is the father, a beekeeper who seems to be a professional. He handles the bee with ease and endearing attention. He is lonely. Sometimes he would invite guests to the backyard and have tea, and whenever the guests settle down and see the beehouse, they would either be instantly stimulated and hide away, or wear the beekeeping suit for the sake of “experience”, though in fact only out of faint courtesy. The faked interests are not unbeknownst to the passionate beekeeper himself, and almost every time his expecting eyes would faint, like dimming stars that sometimes my eyes would capture in a cloudless night. And when they leave, the beekeeper will daze at me. I don’t know why, but I tried to make this secluded man feel better. I would fly up and down in my “safe zone” (because I don’t trust him entirely), flatter my wings, or fly in circles, hoping to make him happy. I don’t really know if I actually made him happy or not, because he did not smile or show boredom afterwards.
Alas, a solitary insect like me would not understand all these social things. Would not understand how the bees work nor why they require such dedication and care, nor understand humans. I have been staying in this backyard for several years, most times alone. I enjoy my solitary existence, though I can’t help but think what it would be like to be taken care of, just as the bees?
As I am thinking, the murky clouds amass and the first raindrop kisses the ground. I hate rain. I go to my usual stem to escape the rainwaters. Although it’s different this time – I hear thunder and the wind has her presence too. Soon I realise this is a storm, so I try to stay closer to the stem. Adverse to my wish, I watch the soil get wet by the rain, one, two, then countless. Soon it builds up a river. My tiny legs are raised and soaked in the newly formed river. I feel the ripples and waves slowly turning my body to the exit of the garden. “Where would I be?” My wings are wet and I cannot fly. “Will I drown before I escape?” The water covers my entire body in a split second. I am ready to accept the unthinkable to happen. The lonely silhouette of the beekeeper is the thing that keeps swirling over my brain.
Yet, someone picks me up. Then, gently hold and place in a warm, wrinkled palm. It is like the sweet sauna that humans sometimes discuss at backyard parties. “I am saved by whom?” My eyes slowly opened as I regained consciousness. “Oh, who else could it be?” The dearest, loneliest, pitiest beekeeper. I see him smiling at me, finally.
He brings me into the house and wraps me gently into a dry towel. I try to spread my wetted wings; now they are safe and sound. A glass jar in his hands. The cork lid opens with a sound of “pop”. He gently puts me in. I comprehend something. Something that the bees possess and I am always curious about. The last thought before I fall into sweet dreams: my lonely sailboat has parked into the waveless bay; the abandoned beekeeper is my hero.
Wai Man, age 16. Dublin
Stairway to petite blossoms of saccharine promises.
As I gaze into her intoxicating emerald-green eyes, I see the abyss of her anguish, a reflection of the aquamarine tempests blustering within. Although my body remains no longer near, through moonlit glimmer, my affection remains forever clear;
‘’In twilight meadows of radiant florets rolled out like a rainbow, I softly frolic, In perpetuity soaring through the blue yonder, away from mortal woes.
Each thread upon the pristine marble staircase, a gentle hushed whisper in the wind, Ushering me towards a world where hopes never rescind.
Petite blossoms of saccharine promise bloom in lustre hues,
Their fragrant essence is an elixir, banishing away life’s blues.
A kindred spirit, now liberated from this intricate tapestry of life,
My paw prints fading, but still you see.
In a world where tenebrous silhouette whirl, a passionate bond was formed,
Between a damsel with a heart enervating with melancholy, and a puppy so warm, Angelic melodies of my fondness, they quietly flow,
From reminiscences treasured, our bond will grow.
With piercing eyes filled with alluring pools of innocent tenderness, I beg you, dear friend, Let me whisper altruistic songs, may they gently mend.
In the depths of your profound wretchedness, you find solace in pain,
But know my dear girl, there is a propitious terrain.
Your fragile heart, like the dwarfish, azure petals of sky-blue forget-me-not,
Aching to bloom with eternal bliss at the pond’s edge, amidst the thorns like a glint of light. Heed my pledge, delicate maiden, I offer you my unwavering love,
A healing ointment, sent from the scintillating streets of heavens above.’’
Through splendid evenings filled with frisk and dimpled, child-like cackles untamed, I’ve picked up your distress, your wars unnamed. You sway to an eerie ballet of glistening, crimson rivulets of tears like humming a secret untold. But you are not the bitterness you hold.
Whenever the torment of the world gets suffocating, let us escape to a realm where only grandeur grace and serenity’s aura twinkle brightly, having faith in nature’s healing touch as it cradles us in its deific embrace. Revelling in the pure delights that life brings to the table: a gentle caress of sunlight on your skin, the fondling of a mischievous gust, the symphony of birds, the flamboyant colours of a sun-kissed, mid-night black rose surrendering to the rhythms of life, where petite blossoms of saccharine promises truly bloom.
Heaven dances with celestial harmony, as earthly shackles fade and sorrows cease to be. Mystical creatures just like you, dance on golden strands, felicity in their every move. In fields of blues, a sapphire jewel blossoms, the forget-me-not, with petite blossoms like ethereal crystals in the night sky, though time may drift and memories evanesce, I will linger within your wounded heart like an everlasting serenade. So let me ascend, step by step, upon the celestial stairway to petite blossoms of saccharine promises.
Angel, age 16. Sri Lanka
The cat was running at top speed as she was getting chased by an evil wolf. She headed into the forest. She stopped in terror and her claws made huge scrapes in the grass. She was standing in front of fuzzy plants called Tiny Joes, but the cat hadn’t a clue what they were.
Soon the wind started to blow a bit of the fuzz around. The cat gave her strongest slap to the fuzzy plants. Boom! The fuzz was everywhere and it covered her silky black fur. Now she looked like a fuzzy white cat.
She heard a loud growl. It must have been the evil wolf. She slowly remembered it was the evil wolf. The cat ran in fear and stopped at a beach. She was right in front of the sea. It looked like glass. The cat liked to walk on glass. She merrily skipped down to the sea. As soon as her paws hit the sea, “meow!” screamed the cat. Her meow was very loud, and a cat’s meows are very loud.
She ran out of the sea very fast. Then her paws started to tap on seashells. Click! Clack! Click! Clack! Everyone on the beach stared at the cat in amazement. The photographer set his camera into position. The camera flash scared the cat away. She started to sprint to the city. She was safe now away from the evil wolf. She ran out on the road and was running under cars, buses, trucks and vans. The fuzzy stuff started to blow off her fur but she still looked like a white fuzzy cat not a black silky one. She nearly crashed into a pole but the fuzz got stuck in a spiderweb which distracted her. A dirty bin fell down. A dairy milk carton, and a takeaway tray blew over to her, and a drop of the milk fell on the tray. The cat lapped it up.
Then a lovely girl was walking with cat food in her hand. There was a big hole in the box. The cat quickly ate it all up. Then she started to merrily walk until she reached a shop. A half empty tuna tin was on the ground. She gobbled it up as she hadn’t had tuna in years. Then she started to walk a few kilometres. Later she stopped in front of an old house.
The house had no windows or doors. It only had half of its roof. It looked like it had been on fire and now was burnt. She claimed it as her own secret hideout. She thought she heard the wolf growl. She started to sprint as fast as she could and she was like lightning. She wasn’t going to bother stopping at the train station but there was a train letting passengers on and she jumped in with them. No one noticed her. She got off at the first stop. It was a wild meadow. There were lots of wild flowers. She kept sneezing madly. She couldn’t take it anymore so she ran away from the wild meadow into a nearby city. She ran into a garage and jumped up on the slushie maker and made herself a slushie, leaving behind a big mess. “Yummy, yummy slushie “ she meowed to herself. She started to sing the new cat song “meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow. She skipped merrily as she was singing.
It was 6 o’clock mass time. She walked very fancy into the old stone church. She struggled to stand on her own two feet but soon figured it out. She went up for Communion. An old lady behind her held her shoulders so she could stand getting Communion bread. The priest wasn’t minding that there was a cat in the church and placed the hold bread on her paws saying “Body of Christ “, and then he was confused because the cat did not reply Amen. Then the old lady took her hands off the cat’s shoulders. The cat walked back down to her seat. After a few prayers the mass was over. When the priest wasn’t looking she sneaked out.
She went back to her secret hideout, but the evil wolf was crawling outside, her back arched, and she sprinted so fast that evil wolf could not catch her. She ran to a house that a rich family owned and they took her on as their own cat. They fed her lovely steak powdered cat milk. They said it would be much healthier for her and they gave the cat her own private bathroom, living room. kitchen and bedroom. Then they cleaned her. It was a dream come true for the cat and they called her willow. Willow had a lovely life after that.
Esten, age 8. Dublin
A Place Called ‘Home’
A dreary and cloudy night in the winter, seven o’clock, I wandered around the lonely country side. I was looking for food.
Finally, I found some meat and a water fountain to drink from. Cold and hungry, I kept looking for food.
Eight o’clock, I wandered round and round the countryside until I spotted a cosy looking house beside a thatched cottage. I had got shelter in the garden for about a month. Or maybe two. But this was not what I called home.
I haven’t told you what I am yet, have I? My name is Sky. Night Sky. I’m a cat.
Now it was eight thirty, on this windy night, I heard loud guitar sounds. The most graceful music I had heard in my entire life. Slowly, very slowly, I creeped out of the garden. I followed the sound and I was approaching a shed which was beside the thatched cottage. It was too cold. I was still hungry. I shouted loudly at the door, in the hope that someone would open the door.
Through the window, I watched a girl drop her guitar onto a seat. She answered my call and I finally saw her full face. She had dark brown hair and hazel eyes. She said, “ah, little kitten, you should go back home.”
I decided to stay with her. I followed the girl and her father to their car. I knew that my life was going to be changed. In a good way.
“I shall name you Night Sky, for you are as black as coal,” the girl said. “That’s a good name, Kate,’ the girl’s father said.
Kate was the name of the girl. She was my hero.
In the car, we watched the lights of the houses fade away. It was eight fifty five. I felt a wave of happiness flood over me like sea water washing over the soft sand on a beach. Kate began to tell me the stories of her day. I listened carefully to every word she said. I purred softly on her lap. Both of us closed our eyes and I leaned onto her arm.
‘This kitten is so good, sitting quietly in the car,’ Kate’s father said.
This lasted until we got to her house. It was a quarter past nine. I started feeling comfortable in Kate’s arms.
A tortoiseshell cat hissed at me when a woman opened the door. The woman must be Kate’s mother. I jumped onto the carpet and sprinted away from the hissing cat. Immediately, Kate stretched out her arms and signalled for me to go over.
Kate took me over to a room which she called her “bedroom”. I padded across the soft red carpet on the ground. I jumped onto Kate’s bed and snuggled into her lap. I felt so warm. I fell asleep. It was half nine. I had a place called “home”.
Caterina, age 9. Cork
2023 A revolution takes place overthrowing the Government of Ireland.
Daily life is hard. All farms are confiscated by the government. This upsets many farmers who lose their land, but they had to give in or they would have been killed. A group of fairly wealthy farmers are unhappy with this and decide to speak up. They are all sent to prison camps. There is now one main farm owned by the ‘government’ that everyone works on.
Office workers too now work for a central office who subcontract the workers. Pay and conditions are abysmal. Objections are met with swift retribution.
Travel restrictions are in place. Permits are only issued to ‘good’ workers. Cars belong only to the Government. Power is limited and curfews are in place.
Since the revolution, there has been a massive clamp down on freedom of speech. Propaganda is in place and it is in schools.
There is a group of secret police called the ISP. They were set up immediately after the government was overthrown, and are used to enforce and defend the new regime. If you say anything bad about the regime the ISP will find you and either kill you or send you to ‘the camps’. They are responsible for the deaths of at least 100,000 people, in the name of a new Ireland. Millions of people die.
I’m a rat and I’m a great observer of human’s human and inhuman behaviour.
Presently I live under the floorboards of a tenement house in Dublin city, where many families displaced from the countryside now eek out a living, and secretly whisper plots to overthrow their new overlords. I traverse the length and breadth of the city, ignored and avoided on my journeys. The people I refer to as ‘my’ family in the rundown hovel where we live can barely feed themselves, and I’m reduced to eating shoe leather as there are no scraps from their table to be had now. They think they are clever though and have a grand plan of resistance. But I’m the survivor here. I work in the field of information. Naturally I sell to the highest bidder. I can’t be a hero on an empty stomach. As I said before I’m a rat. A rat by name and a rat by nature.
James, age 15. Co Dublin
Thomas the Sea Turtle
Hello, my name is Thomas and I’m a sea turtle. My days usually consist with me swimming happily around the sea and munching on my favourite sea-weed. But today was different. I woke up in my usual place under an arch of rocks tucked nicely into the warm sand. The water was bright and clear which meant it was just after sun rise so that was my sign to start the day. I emerged from underneath the sand just in time to see the school of fish heading off.
I swam around to the back of my rock home where there is some sea-weed growing. It’s not my favourite but it will do, I thought to myself as I swallowed it down. I decided today I was going to be productive and collect some rocks for my home. It was a task that I always avoided for some reason, but it needs to be done. I swam off towards the town as there are usually spar rocks laying around that part. It’s about a fifteen-minute swim so I had time to wake up on the travel there.
When I arrived, the town was already busy with fish rushing around and small sharks sniffing out food. Then I found some nicely sized rocks that would fit perfectly in my home. Just as I put the rocks on my back I saw my two friends swimming towards me. “Hey, Thomas” yelled Maggie the seahorse from a few meters away. “Hi Maggie and Dave “I replied. “What are you doing in town” asked Dave the octopus. “Just collecting some rocks for home” I said.” Nice, we better get going though we don’t want to be late for work at sea control, it can get very busy” sighed Maggie.” See, ya “I said as they swam away.
I started to swim the quiet way to avoid being bothered. As I was swimming, I didn’t notice that a piece of plastic had attached to my leg. It looked like a large bag. I started to panic when it wouldn’t come off. I kicked and swam but it wouldn’t budge. Just then a plastic bottle came flying at my head. I had no time to recover because I realised I had swum into a pool of rubbish. I didn’t know what to do, I was stuck. Just then I saw two figures swimming towards me. They were wearing all black with tanks on their backs. They took all the plastic off me and gave me back my rocks. They swam away with all the plastic in a net. They saved me I thought as I started to swim home. In the distances I could see them picking up more rubbish from the ground and putting it into their net. I swam home trying to believe what had just happened.
When I got home, I put my rocks down and decided to eat my favourite sea-weed to finish off the day.
Florence, age 12. Dublin
I woke up from my luxurious bed and saw my pet sleeping on it! It was obviously MY bed, I put my scent on it, can’t she smell that? It sure is a purrculiar creature… Besides from that, I was famished, I leaped onto the black platform and saw the shiny, black rectangle toy that lights up whenever that creature, whatever it is, decides to play with it. I smirked. With all my might, I pushed the heavy light thing onto the ground. THUMP! The thundering sound should’ve done the trick. My pet is professionally trained to give me my food right away when it hears that sound. Just as I predicted, it’s giant head moved and it’s giant mouth yawned. I jumped on it and bit it’s toe to speed the process up a bit. It quickly jumped out of MY bed if it still doesn’t understand and slowly walked to eating place. Waiting for it to even take one step was dreadful, it was as slow as a snail! Once we finally got to the box, it was already nap time, we were so off schedule!
I stood near my bowl, waiting for food as fury burned inside me.
“I have had enough of this waiting!”I yelled so loud that I could feel my whole body shaking from the vibrations. It seemed to not have worked, I tried again, this time, I pounced in front of the food box and clambered onto my pet’s body, it seemed to have worked a little bit. Eventually, the food did arrive, that is, after what seemed like a thousand years. I gobbled up every last bit of the food and wandered around for a place to take a quick nap. I wandered around the house and went behind the soft cloths guarding the door to the outside word. I pressed my nose up the invisible barrier, hoping that someday, I would be able to catch one of those revolting birds teasing me round-the clock. I gazed at them, losing hope each time they swooped down at me with a grin.
Suddenly, I saw a yellowish blur fly past me, what could it be? Maybe some kind of bee or wasp. I quickly switched into hunting mode, my legs ready to pounce, my paws ready to catch and my mouth ready to bite. I concentrated on it more and… my legs threw me over the ground, my paws reached out into the air and my mouth slammed shut I HAD CAUGHT IT!!! I decided not to eat the wasp, it looked more suitable for my pet to eat instead. I carried it in my mouth all the way to the place where my pet eats, I opened my mouth and gently put the wasp on it’s bowl. “Here, it’s for you.” I said as I put the wasp down. But instead of thanking me, it hissed and shouted at the same time!
I knew he was a purrculiar creature…
Joby, age 10. Dublin
Hello, in case you don’t know me, my name is Jessie. I am the one true king of Ireland, and you shall all bow to me! The following is the fully authorized story of one of my many amazing adventures with my family.
It started as any other day, awaking, calling for my humans, and sitting at the door. They then entered my room, cooked my breakfast, and let me outside to relieve myself.
Now, as a Cavalier of 78 years (14 Human years) I appreciate the fresh air, so when my human brother took out the lead, I was quite pleased with his initiative.
10 minutes later we were in the car on our way, the green rushing past my window, the wind blowing through my fur, my tongue flapping like a flag on a windy day.
When we arrived, I leaped joyfully out of the car, ready for my stroll. First, we walked through a tunnel of trees, and then by a path, lined with gorse and Hawthorn, following a little stream. I thought we were coming to the end of our pleasant walk. However, my mum said, “Does Jessie want to go up the Sliabh Felim Way?”. It is at times like this that I thank Dog for my friends!
We wandered up a grassy path, and I barked at the tractors that chugged by. This path leads to the site of the old mining buildings, including the engine and the smelting buildings. My brother read the information signs and I realise I am in an important historical place. I wondered if 200 years ago, other dogs sat where I am sitting, waiting for their friends to finish up work for the day. When my brother stopped reading the sign, he took off his backpack and pulled out a blanket, food/drink, and a bowl for me!
They had rolls and squash, while I had chicken pieces and water. I woofed at everything that goes past to protect my faithful friends. I scared away birds, butterflies, wasps, and rabbits! I love these days out with my family, spending time in nature. It just feels right!
When we got back to the car, I was exhausted, so my brother lifted me in, and I licked his nose when he told me that I am his hero for protecting him from the wasps!
Upon my arrival home, I lolloped into the kitchen, pulled myself up onto my couch and flopped my head onto the armrest, surveying my family putting everything away, hoping my cuteness will reward me with a few more Markies before I retreat into dreamland.
Thank you for reading this series of fortunate events my loyal
subjects! Stick around for more of my interesting royal exploits!
And always remember,
“Love Loves to Love Love.” I love my family, and they love me!
Alex, age 14. County Tipperary
The Three toed sloth
Sammy the three toed sloth had just awoken from his 15-hour long sleep. He now had just 9 hours to lumber through the trees of South America, or to be more specific, Peru. It was starting to get dark at this point of the day. As Sammy, like all sloths, was nocturnal, he pretty much slept for the whole day.
This means that when he did in fact wake up from his long, luxurious sleep, night was approaching, along with the darkness. It was a cold dull night. The harsh wind swept across the sloth’s exposed ankles. Luckily for Sammy, he had a coat of fur, preventing him from getting too cold. He continued through the trees, ignoring the cold air and harsh wind. It was time for him to begin to eat. He searched for leaves, twigs and buds. These were three of the main foods that his diet consisted of. The night was silent, apart from the sound of the sloth smacking his firm lips together. This was his method of eating, as, like all sloths he had no incisors.
Once he had had enough food, he started to head to the tree he liked to chill in. The weather at this stage was quite windy and bitter, and Sammy had nearly fallen off the trees quite a few times. Then, he hears it. Rustling in the trees. This was not a good sign. It could only mean one thing. It was a jaguar. In the area that Sammy lived, there were a good few jaguars that were a threat to Sammy and all the other smaller animals in the area. On many occasions, Sammy had just about escaped the dangerous animal. But on this particular night it was different. You see, the jaguars usually only came out when Sammy was quite close to the tree he lived in. But now, Sammy was
nowhere near his tree, and the jaguar had clearly spotted him.
The three toed sloth picked up the pace. Unfortunately, even when going as fast as he could, Sammy was still quite slow. This gave the jaguar an advantage, and he was gaining on him. It was looking very bad for Sammy at this point. He couldn’t see much, but he could hear the rustling in the bushes, and the sound of the jaguar sniffing around for his prey. Sammy didn’t dare look back, he just continued on towards his tree. The jaguar was getting closer and closer. Sammy knew he had no hope, until suddenly the rustling stopped. He could no longer hear the sniffing of the jaguar.
The night was once again silent. Sammy was confused, but also relieved. He looked back and could see the jaguar devouring something that he couldn’t quite make out. Although he didn’t care what it was. At least it wasn’t him!
He counted his blessings and headed off home, to do what all sloths do. Have a good, long, rest!
Michael, age 13. County Westmeath
Thirteen more stories from talented young writer finalists. Congratulations to all 23 finalists for Bloomday 2023!
A DOG CALLED DAN
Hello and welcome to my story it will be set in the perspective of the narrator. hope you enjoy. Dan was a lost stray Labrador. When his owners did not want him anymore he was let go on a walk and he never saw them again after that Dan drifted around the streets for about 2-3 months. After this some people got suspicious seeing him wander the streets by himself some people tried ringing the number on the collar but of course no one picked up the phone. After this most people gave up on trying to find the owner apart from a few people they were always watching the and Dan was very predictable he would always wander the same places and search the same bins but one day he did not show up at the same bin the select few people got worried about Dan and searched the village just to try and find him they were not successful in finding him and Dan was all by himself at this point Dan was not even in the village anymore he was gone Dan had to fend for himself. Dan was starving and he had to get something to eat he stumbled upon a pore lamb that he was going to sneak up on. Threw the tall grass, Dan got very close to the lamb and was about to pounce but the lamb was aware of Dan and the lamb swiftly left the scene. And a chase started the lamb was sprinting threw the flowers and around the threes but after a while Dan caught the lamb and had a very nice meal after this Dan decided to get back to the village Dan walked and walked and walked but he got no were close to the village he gave up and called it a day and went to bed under a tall three when he was asleep Dan heard a twig crack he jumped up scouted out the bushes and the threes he found nothing but just as he was about to go to sleep a dog jumped over to him and he was trying to get back to his family the dog’s name was Andy and he got separated from his family on a walk they decided to team up and went to bed. When they woke up Andy new were the village was and Dan followed him back to the village. When Dan saw the houses he knew where he was and ran to the village. Dan is now a rescue dog and lives with a married couple and as for Andy he also lives in the village and they lived happily ever after.
Hugh, age 12. Dublin
THE SUFFRAGETTES DOG
“Votes for Women!!!” Poppet trotted along Sackville street alongside his owner Rosie. This was their weekly tradition Rosie was a suffragette and Poppet an Irish terrier. Every weekend when the wealthy paraded around town in their colourful gowns and suits Rosie and Poppet joined the rest of the suffragettes to protest for women’s votes they marched around town gathering crowds of some horrified some gobsmacked and some aggressive, onlookers.
One afternoon Poppet lay on the rug dreaming about belly rubs and infinite food when he heard the key turn in the lock “click” he got up and bounded to the door ready to be greeted with snuggles but Rosie came in head hanging she plodded over and slumped on the couch. “what’s goin on y’all right,” Gran said attempting to sound sympathetic but she was just reminding Rosie that she was there and she wanted her dinner. Poppet thought that Rosie could do with some cuddles he hopped onto her lap and curled up “Poppet I just heard from one of the girls that my friend Megan was protesting by herself and the silly police came and arrested her, everything feels serious now.” She sobbed.
The next morning I, Poppet woke up ready to continue comforting my loving friend Rosie. I leaped up off the carpet, skidded down the hallway and began pawing at her door she came out with an air of confidence pulsing out of her “morning Poppet,” she rubbed me and scratched behind my ears. This will be a great day I thought to myself I would later be proven very wrong!
“Poppet my dear dog today we are going to try something a little different if things are getting more serious then, it means people are noticing us so we might as well make the most of it! Said Rosie” This excited me but I could feel a bit of worry bubbling up inside of me. I knew Rosie would take good care and do anything she could not to put me in any danger. When we reached the GPO other suffragettes were there waiting for Rosie and I. “Hiya Rosie,” our friend Maggie said, her voice shook slightly with fear. Some of the girls petted me but everyone looked slightly nervous. “Alright everyone are we ready?” someone said. There was a murmur of mixed replies. I followed the girls as they walked over to a gate beside the GPO using belts and chains to lock themselves on to the gate. This didn’t worry me I was proud of my owner campaigning for what she thought needed changing. My proud moment was suddenly interrupted. “Hey there ladies what’s going on here?” A group of policemen walked over and before I knew it they had arrested Rosie! I managed to distract the policemen long enough for some of the girls to escape.
A while later when women had gotten the vote and Rosie was out of jail I decided to begin my quest protesting for dog’s votes!
Sadhbh, age 12. County Dublin
Margrots Day In Dublin
As, I strutted onto the footpath, I immediately spotted Jerel. Jerel and I were best friends when we were younger. We grew up under Ha’penny Bridge together but when we got older, we grew apart. We still talk to each other sometimes but we both have our own friends now. I didn’t want to bother Jerel, so I went on with my day. First, I went to visit my favourite hotdog vendor, Halpert. Halpert greeted me nicely as usual and gave me a chunk of sausage, which tasted delicious. But then Jennifer came over. Jennifer is the head pigeon, and everybody is forced to respect her and do everything she says or they will be kicked out of the family Jennifer saw me and sashayed away swinging her feathers into my face. Jennifer is my least favourite pigeon in the family. She is very obnoxious and rude. I walked away and decided to go visit Penelope. Penelope has been my best friend since I moved to O’Connell Bridge. Penelope was so nice when I moved to her bridge. She was so welcoming and kind. I was very distraught when I had to move out of Ha’penny Bridge. Ha’penny had been my home since I was born but when my father died my mother got very depressed, so we had to move to O’Connell Bridge, as, that was where my mother’s closest friend, Sonya lived. Sonya was able to take care of my mother and make her happy again. And that is how I met Penelope. As Penelope is Sonya’s niece. My mother died recently because she was very sick for the past year and one day passed away. But Penelope has been a great help comforting me about my mother and making me feel better. So, as I arrived under the bridge, I looked for Penelope, but I couldn’t find her. I called out her name, but she didn’t answer. So, I went on a search for her. First, I went to look for her at the top of the bridge. But didn’t have any luck, then I thought she might have gone to Halperts hotdog stand after I left. When I got to the stand Penelope wasn’t there. So, I went to look around the same street but she was nowhere to be found I didn’t know where to look. I was scared that something happened to her. But then on my way back I spotted Penelope! I was so relieved I ran straight over to her and asked her where she had been. She said that she just went for a little walk. I told her how happy I was to see her, and we both walked back home together. When we got home, we lay down in our nests and said goodnight to each other. So that is my day as a pigeon. I know that wasn’t the most interesting, but I enjoyed it.
Ella, age 12. Dublin
Hello, I am Ronaldo and I am a billy goat who lives in a field in Castlebar Co Mayo. My field is not the biggest but im on my own I sadly woke up one day and my friend Neymar was gone. In the field I have a filthy container that I drink my muddy water that comes
from the stream down and yonder. I munch on the lush green grass and I hate the farm. It’s really boring the farmer Aidan O’Shea is a nasty man he never looks after me he always focusing on the lousy sheep or the fat cows who do nothing all day but sit on the grass and
moo all the time it is hard to put up with you know. They aren’t all bad I have a few friends here and there. The farmers dog Milo is a kind dog, sometimes if he sees me out of his owners window he would come give me scraps and leftovers from their dinner. Today was a dreadful day it was bucketing rain I was cold and had no food all day I had devoured all the remaining grass. The following day I woke up under the winter oak tree, I was amazed at the fact that my container was full to the brim, all the grass had grown back things were looking up from here on then. Milo had come down from the red brick house up on the valley. He had some wonderful news the other day Aidan and his wife Kathryn headed towards the farmers market which is where he would bid for animals and here is the good news, I would have soulmate who was a goat! Milo told me he would arrive back on the farm tomorrow along with some other cattle such as bulls, sheep and horse. I needed some sleep, and, in the morning, I would see my future soulmate. I woke and believe it or not the sun was shining in Castlebar that is a rare occurrence in Mayo. I went over to the container to get my first gulp of murky water. Then a truck pulled up and out came a man with a cotton top and a Texans baseball cap, he had a box in his hand and came in my direction. He approached me with box and put the box over me and it was dark. I woke up and I was moving not me but the truck I had a hole through my box and saw the sun shining down on me there were a few other boxes in the back I didn’t know where I was a few hours passed and the truck stopped. The man took all boxes and put us down I heard the sound of water moving and then he started to take me out and wow there was lake and other animals and you won’t believe who was their Neymar!!! This is the story of a goat.
Marcus, age 12. Dublin
MACK IN THE ZOO
Hello my name is Mack. I’m am a tiger. At the moment I’m in a zoo. I’m about 101 years old in cat years. I’m very old. The dock is saying I might pass away soon. I’m going to tell you all about my life before I got here. Once upon a time I was a little cub. I was very curious my life was going great for years but one day I got hit by a massive truck. The man who was driving said I think I hit something, Monty said alright but just let me finish me big mack. A second latter they both came out of the truck Monty said we could make bank if we put him asleep and soled him to the zoo. So that’s what they did and that’s how I got the name Mack because Monty was eating a big mack. If you’re nice to me I might tell you another one. By the time I was at the zoo I needed to escape. There was a nice rat there called Brendo he used to play for Belvo he only came for the food. He was very nice he thought me some footy skills, he helped me to escape a number of times over and over. Brendo looked like a tiny rat but he could eat like a tiger literary but one time it actually pad of. He found a hole covered up by wood and straw. Thankfully I was able to push it to the side to be honest it smelt like a sewer. It was mank but Brendo thought it was too good to be true but at the end of the day he is a rat. We could hear all the footsteps from the upper city. But suddenly we heard a microphone say the zoo will be temporary closed because are main exhibit has escaped!!! and just then sleep darts were fired we both ran as fast as we could but I realised it was just me running. The dart accidentally hit Brendo. And just because the dart was supposed to take out me it overloaded him and he died so I just quit. And they broth me back till this day I still think that tunnel could of went on forever. One of the most recent one is that a few weeks ago this crocodile called Larry came from the tunnel that I was in years ago and he told me his story. Basically he asked for my legs for his da because Larry bit of his legs I guess that’s what crocodile’s do nowadays any way I said no. And he went on his way all the way down the tunnel I never saw him again. I think I have to go now I think the doctor or you’re one that feeds me is calling. Thanks for listening to an old timer like me it’s been an long time since someone could understand me.
Jack, age 13. Dublin
Goats of Switzerland
I’d love some grass right now the lush flavours, filling my mouth with as much as I can but the grass in are field isn’t grass. Anyways let me
introduce myself I’m Messi Ronaldo I’m a goat living in Switzerland with a bunch of other goats. I’m fenced off to a life of boring repetitive days never to find a mate. There’s a bunch of other goats in the field such as :Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods Lewis Hamilton, Rafael Nadal, Usain Bolt and Mohammed Ali also many others. I’m itching to escape, at first chance of the fence breaking, I’m out. Time goes by in a flash, days, weeks ,months one morning I heard a loud bang us goats are not normally startled but that definitely shook a few of us. That day the old farmer came along with bruises and blood I was about say something but then I remembered that I don’t speak human and I’m a goat. Yet the old farmer still came and filled the drinking thing for us. The next day at refill time the farmer wasn’t there he was a no show, I could see that some of us were wearing down without drink. I didn’t of course if you put me in the Sahara Desert I would survive months without water.
The farmer didn’t show up the next day or the next some of the goats
were at their breaking point so they formed a plan. We were going to hit the fence at its weakest point snapping it clean off then we would go down to the stream and drink for hours. I was drafted in to break the fence then the heart of this operation Tiger Woods called on three. One, Two, Three heave and we pushed with such strength that we could stop one of those metal beasts that the farmer use to go in. The fenced wiped straight off crashed at the strength of the true goats. We all went ran to the stream it was a free for all. Gulping down water at a rapid pace I thought the stream would run out from all the water we were drinking. Then Michael Jordan spotted a heap load of food in a plastic bag we were going to eat like kings. There was one problem though to get to the food you had to go through the bull’s field. Michael Jordan will meet an old friend Scottie Pipen his old teammate he is a bull. Michael confronted Scottie and they exchanged hello’s but something was different Scottie didn’t let Michael pass because that food was for Scottie not us goats. Scottie was not happy he burst out of his fence and started chasing us we all ran towards the stream jumping to the other side but Michael did not he was going to lead Scottie away. Then I Heard the sound of gunshots, then it all went black.
David, age 12. Dublin
Belle And Her Great Adventure
I am a dog and my name is Belle. I am a stray dog and I enjoy life. I get to run freely while other dogs are on a lead. Sometimes I try to play with the other dogs and we enjoy. I get my food from my best dog friends owner my dog friend is called waffles when he goes on a walk
with his owner to Fairveiw park he always looks for me. I sleep in the bushes with a toy that I found on the ground it is a little bear he is brown and soft. When he finds me we always play tag when he has to go I follow him to get some food his owners are really nice they give me lots of food. Sometimes I see some scary people but also some people are nice and give me a rub and food and when it gets dark, I hide in my bush and go asleep. Sometimes I go to waffles home and sleep there until morning. Maybe someday they will adopt me I would be a happy little dog. But for now I am still home-less. Waffles told me that his owners are thinking of adopting me So it’s a good day. So I am thinking of going to a different area today travel around try something different see if waffles wants to come so I am of to his house maybe they will have some food for me oh I can’t wait… hey waffles how are you I am good waffles said lets go to Marino by any chance do you have any food yeah do you want some yes ok 1 minute… oh your back here’s a hot dog thanks waffles. Let’s go to Marino ok start the walk. Oh, there is lots of road works. Its very loud anyway keep going we are very close. We are here let’s go to one of those big circles that have a lot of grass oh yeah good idea belle there is always kids there playing football true but who cares let’s just go. There they are let’s go over and see if they like us. Woof-woof what are you doing belle what are you doing. There’s one coming over. Oh, I can hear them saying that were stray. Let’s just play football yeah, I got the ball I am dribbling. It’s getting dark we better get home. I don’t want to walk in the dark it’s scary. let’s just go ok. There are some very scary people here. Your owners are probably worried sick yeah. THERE IS SOMEONE CHASING US RUNNN AHHHH He has a knife don’t slow down what do we do we need to hide or find someone that can protect us. Stop whining we will be fine are you sure belle. Yeah, oh I see you owner we are saved the scary man can’t do anything now he’s are hero. Can I live with you…
Sam, age 12. County Dublin
Larry the Croc
Hi I am Larry the croc and I am very hungry. My dad said that he wouldn’t hunt for me anymore. So now I have to go out on me own and hunt for food myself. I guess I will have to go over to a better part of the riverbed. And when I get there I will wait for a gazelle to approach the water and I will jump out of the water and I will tear their legs off and eat their flesh. So I waited there for three days until finally a gazelle came into the water (or so I thought!) it was actually my dad. And I accidently bit off all of his legs! But when I realised that I brought him to the croc hospital. And the doctor told me that my dad might not survive. My dad told me that he wasn’t ready to die. And I told him that I wouldn’t let him die. I said the doctor that I would do anything not to see my dad suffer. The doctor told me that I would have to find a gazelle and bite off all their legs and bring them back to the hospital and sew them back on to my dad so that he could walk again. I told the doctor that my dad would look weird if I did that. But the doctor said I have to. So I am on my way to the river bank to catch some gazelle. When I got to the river bank the gazelle had already migrated over to the other side of the river. I decided to wait 1 year for them to cross the river again on their next migration cycle. I went back to tell the doctor this but he told me that we needed the legs right away. So I left the hospital in search for some different legs. I searched all across the lands for days. I asked the tiger called Mack for his legs but he said no. So I kept searching, I saw a rat but I thought that his legs were too small so I didn’t ask him. I asked a
human but I don’t think he understood what I was saying because they just ran away. So I kept on my search across the lands to find my dad some legs. There was a lot of searching left to do before I find some suitable legs for my dad. I went back to the river to have a rest and to visit my dad. The next morning I went to the hospital to see how he was doing but when I got there I realised that if I ask one of the dying crocs for their legs then my dad will look normal and the crocodile won’t miss them so I asked him and he said ok, (he is such a
hero) I took off all his legs and sew them back on to my dad.
Gabriel, age 12. County Dublin
Life of a racing dog
The tunnel was dark and gloomy, it hadn’t been cleaned months, years even. Although that didn’t matter because the viewers don’t see the inside of the tunnel. They only see the outside, the glossy, shiny coat of fresh paint. We got closer to the end of the old tunnel, soon we reached it I took a second to adjust to the light, not the light from the sun but the light shining down from the roof of the stadium. Today my number was 8, usually there were about 10 to 15 dogs racing, but today there were only 9. I was shooed over to my spot on the track “ON YOUR MARKS!” I looked to my right, a German Shepard “GET SET!” I had never seen one in a race before, “GO!” I started running faster than most of the dogs on the track all I could hear was distant panting and louder than anything I could hear the cheering of the viewers. They bet money on us when the dog they chose to win wins they receive more than double what they gave at the start. The only dog in front of me was the German Shepard, I had never seen legs move so fast, probably because I was always in the lead. No worries though I’ll just do what I usually do, inhale “huuuu” exhale “hoooo”……run for my life. THUMP my paws were hitting the ground harder than a meteor falling from space, THUMP I think if I keep going like this for a few more minutes I can out run the German Shepard, THUMP I look up what? The German Shepard has stopped running yes! I’ve basically won, how far behind are the other dogs? I look back they’re far, far behind, in fact it’s like they’re not even running at all. My face fills with joy, then quickly fades to a frown, I stop. “How could I be so stupid”! The finish line was back there, I’ve missed it, how embarrassing, looks like I came second after all. Before I had the chance to go back I was grabbed by the collar and dragged down the dark and gloomy tunnel. A short journey to the end. Were there. I was banished to my kennel I barely fit in that tiny thing, but I just lay there in silence, even though it hadn’t even been an hour yet, it felt like I’d been there for weeks. I heard the clink of the lock, Yes! I ran away. I found the German Shepard that beat me she didn’t have a kennel, she had a luxury van, maybe because she won? The man saw me I could tell what he was thinking by his face, that’s the dog that nearly beat us, I suddenly belonged to him. Was only after a few weeks, I realized I had been treated unfairly before.
Eleni, age 12. Dublin
The wee duck looked so dejected, dusty and hot. The heatwave had dried up her usual pond near almost zero. She was in no mood for anything to do with Bloomsday. She looked at the people walking from Saint Stephens Green to Swenys shop dressed in stripy blazers, and long skirts and straw hats. Quack, quack, quack, she called out irritably to no one in particular, throwing her eyes up to heaven at the people all dressed up for June 16th. Quack, quack, quack.
The sky opened suddenly and the rain poured down. People ran into Bewleys. A man with glasses on opened his black umbrella. “You are my hero” said a short, pretty lady.
Ducky perked up and went swimming in St Stephens Green quacking quacking quacking happily.
Conor, age 13. Newry
That Bloom’in Old Dog
Go away you. Go away you, I bark because I am afraid at the boy with the injured left paw. But the boy pats me kindly with his right paw, brings me to the vet to have my sore head seen to, feeds me nice food and makes a nice soft bed for me. I am happy. A few days later THAT man comes for me. I bark and bark and bark. I will not leave the boy. Will anyone understand me? What will happen next…
Joseph, age 10. Galway
James Joyce Cat
I like Paris, and James Joyce like Paris. I am a James Joyce cat. My name is Miaou Ronron. I sing and I let people stroke me and know that I am a happy cat while I am celebrate Bloomsday.
Aamadu, age 7. Paris
Hero the Puppy
All the ants were marching marching marching marching bringing food to their nests and the bees were busy buzzing the birds were eating worms the butterflies fluttered by the people walked me in the park and I had a drink of cool cold water from a metal bowl. I looked in and saw myself
Isabelle, age 7. County Wicklow
Meet our judges:
Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy
Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, and has held lectureships in University College Dublin, and National University of Ireland, Maynooth. She was Associate Professor in Medieval and Renaissance English Language and Literature in the School of Arts, and former director of the Medieval Research Centre, at the University of Leicester (2008-18). She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (2019); a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (2020), and a Trustee of the International James Joyce Foundation (2022). Her research interests lie in the areas of medieval and Renaissance Wisdom literature, medieval and Renaissance iconology and political theology; the patristic sources of Old and Middle English, and nineteenth and twentieth-century medievalism, especially James Joyce. She has published a number of articles on Joyce’s treatment of such topics as libel law, freemasonry, medieval Irish placelore, Dublin’s water supply, anti-Semitism, medieval Irish manuscripts (most notably the Book of Kells), the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, and ‘Araby’ as a grail quest. She is a member of the editorial board of Annotations to James Joyce’s Ulysses (Oxford, 2022). In addition to a number of articles and two edited books on medieval and Renaissance literature, she has published a major study on the grail legend, Wisdom and the Grail: The Image of the Vessel in the Queste del Saint Graal and Malory’s Tale of the Sankgreal (Dublin, 2000), and was the Principal Investigator of a landmark exhibition, ‘James Joyce: Apocalypse and Exile’ in Marsh’s Library Dublin (2014-15), now online. She is currently completing Joyce and the Irish Middle Ages: Saints, Sages, and Insular Culture, which is the first monograph devoted to Joyce’s engagement with the Insular period, specifically the influence of Irish learning and artistry on Britain and the Continent from the sixth to the twelfth centuries. She is also the author of The Artifice of Eternity: Mariology in the English Poetic Tradition (Oxford, forthcoming). In the longer term, she is working on a monograph on Chaucer and the Later Crusades.
Susie Lopez. Arts and Literature philanthropy.
Glenn Johnston has been collecting works by and about James Joyce for more than 30 years. He is an adviser to the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) and Treasurer of the James Joyce Society in New York. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin and has worked for the United Nations, in risk and security consulting, and in financial services.
Hilary Fannin is an award-winning playwright, novelist and newspaper columnist. Born in Dublin, where she still lives, she was writer in association at the Abbey Theatre in its centenary year, 2004. Her plays have been performed in Ireland, London, Europe and North America. For the past decade she has been writing a weekly column for The Irish Times and was named Irish Broadsheet Columnist of the Year in 2019. Her memoir, Hopscotch, was published to critical acclaim in 2015. Her first novel, The Weight of Love, was published in 2020 and won the John McGahern Award for debut Irish fiction. She is currently working on her second novel and on an adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s Children of the Sun for Rough Magic theatre company.
Nathan Finn is a technical writer from Dublin. He is a graduate of Dublin City University and Munster Technological University (formerly Cork Institute of Technology). His undergraduate thesis focused on a comparative analysis of James Joyce’s Ulysses using the literary theories of Mikhail Bakhtin – for which he received first class honours and the John Killeen medal for English literature from DCU.
Dr Mary Lawton
Dr Mary Lawton is a Joyce scholar whose primary area of research is the interrelationship of Joyce’s literary works and specific Scandinavian literature in translation, employing an onomastic and etymological framework. When studied together, these Irish and Nordic texts reveal the impact Scandinavian narratives, writing cultures, and authors had on Joyce throughout his lifetime. Mary was awarded the UB Humanities Institute and UB Libraries James Joyce Fellowship for research access to the Special Collections Libraries. She hopes to visit Buffalo soon. Creatively, her short stories have been featured in Daily Science Fiction, TL;DR Press, and Sci-Fi Shorts.
Child Safeguarding and Governance
Results and Online Exhibition
We will announce our overall winner, runners-up, and shortlisted authors on Bloomsday (June 16th 2023)
23 entries will later be showcased as part of our Bloomsday 2023 Online Exhibition.
We are hoping to have some of the entries recorded this year.
The prize giving ceremony will be at Marsh’s Library, Dublin, on the 22nd September 2023. Time 11.30am
Guidelines for Entrants
Entrants must be under 18 years of age at date of submission.
Stories, 500 words or less.
Parents/Guardians/Teachers send entries to:
Please title your story and include the author’s name, age, county/country of abode
Competition Deadline: June 6th 2023
Results announced: June 16th 2023 at 9am
If entrants/schools send original copies and would like them returned, please let us know and we will arrange this. However, it is always best practice to send a copy of the work.
Here are some fun Joycean links for children to explore:
2023 theme andproject management: Majella McAllister