Kerry pupils living in fantasy land

County has four out of 21 finalists in writing competition

John B Keane: Kerry’s literary great may one day be joined by four local pupils shortlisted for the 2014 John West Fantasy Writing Competition. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

John B Keane: Kerry’s literary great may one day be joined by four local pupils shortlisted for the 2014 John West Fantasy Writing Competition. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Mon, Mar 24, 2014, 15:08

Of the 21 finalists in the 2014 John West Fantasy Writing Competition, four are from Kerry, seeing off competition from almost 10,000 schoolchildren nationwide to make the shortlist.

Kerry’s literary credentials are well known with a hall of fame including John B Keane, Brendan Kennelly, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Maurice Walsh, Con Houlihan and, of course, Listowel Writers’ Week. Now Zach Buckley, Claire Riordan and Liam Stein from Presentation Secondary School, Miltown, Killarney, and Wiktoria Kupiec from St Joseph’s Secondary school, Castleisland have taken the first step towards joining their ranks by making it through to the final 21 in the fantasy writing competition, the winner of which will be announced on May 14th at the Mansion House, Dublin!

Their stories range from a humorous take on What really happened on the first voyage to the moon to how a knight becomes a Shadow Slayer to a quest to save mankind and close The Portal to dodging bullets and fire in Chases in the Sky.

For the full list of 21 finalists, please visit john-west.ie/writing-competition-info/latest-news-competition

Brendan Murphy, general manager, John West, says, “This is the fourth year of our competition which asked students nationwide to write a short story in the fantasy and science fiction genre on the theme, A Wild Adventure. They certainly rose to the challenge and the judges tell me that the quality was higher this year. I’d like to thank the pupils for continuing to enter in their thousands, the teachers for their ongoing encouragement and commitment to keeping the written word alive and, of course, the parents for their support.”

This year’s judges are Irish Times columnist Shane Hegarty, author of the forthcoming Darkmouth series for young adults, which will be published this year; June Caldwell, author of Biography of a Troubles’ Moll; and Grainne Byrne, who as well as running her own PR cmpany has just finished her first novel.