Paul McMahon wins €2,000 Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize

Belfast-born, Sligo-based poet has won Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize and Nottingham Open Poetry Competition

The 2015 Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize has been awarded to Paul McMahon for his poem Tom’s Pouch of Cure-Stones, by a panel of judges chaired by the Poet Laureate, Carol Anne Duffy. The award is worth £2,000.

Born and brought up in Belfast, McMahon now lives in Sligo. He has previously won the the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize and the Nottingham Open Poetry Competition.

The prize is an annual competition for essays and poems on Romantic themes. The prizes total £4,000 and the winners were as follows:



Winner: Paul McMahon for Tom’s Pouch of Cure-Stones.

Runner-up: Karen Hill for Sirius.

Entrants were asked to submit poems on the theme ‘Watchers of the Skies’. The judging panel consisted of Carol Ann Duffy, Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney.


Winner: Harry Cochrane for ‘The Romantic Dante’.

Runner-up: Anna Mercer for ‘Beyond Frankenstein’.

Winner (16-18 category): Stephen Horvarth for ‘How did Revolutions in Politics Affect the Poetic Revolution in Lyrical Ballads?’

Essays were invited on any aspect of the work or lives of the Romantics and their circles. The judging panel consisted of Carol Ann Duffy, Prof Simon Bainbridge and Prof Sharon Ruston. The 16-18 category was introduced for the first time this year.

The young romantics prize is a new award for poems and short stories by writers aged between 16 and 18 inspired by the Romantics. The first prize is a week-long Arvon creative-writing course; the winner also receives a £100 book token, as do the runners-up. The successful entrants this year were:


Winner: Daniella Cugini for Presence.

Runner-up: Esme Partridge For My Future Lover.

Short story

Winner: Parth Vaghani for Leaving Home.

This year’s theme was ‘Lost Angels’. The judges were Kate Clanchy and Matthew Sweeney, with Carol Ann Duffy making the final selection.

The Keats-Shelley Memorial Association takes care of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, the house at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in which John Keats died, and which since 1906 has been a museum dedicated to the English Romantic poets. It currently receives some 24,000 visitors a year.