New Irish Writing – a remarkable journey
Sir, – With deep sadness, and in the light of the current economic circumstances facing all newspapers, we, the directors of New Irish Writing Ltd, regret to announce that we have no option but to close the longest running outlet for new writers in Ireland, with the cessation of publication of the New Irish Writing page.
This feature has run almost continuously for over half a century since being launched by David Marcus in the Irish Press in 1968.
Marcus saw the page as a continuation of the small magazine, Irish Writing, which he had launched in Cork as a young man, except that it would be read for free by a mass audience in a national newspaper. The page was edited by Marcus until his retirement and then briefly by Anthony Glavin until the Irish Press stopped publishing it in 1988. Starting in 1989, and in the three decades since then, it has been maintained and edited by Ciaran Carty, firstly in the pages of the Sunday Tribune, then in the Irish Independent and, in recent years, in The Irish Times.
In 1971 the Hennessy family was instrumental in establishing and funding the Hennessy Literary Awards, presented to the best short stories and poems published on the page. Hennessy Award winners included Ita Daly, Dermot Healy, Sebastian Barry, Patrick McCabe, Deirdre Madden, Joseph O’Connor, Colum McCann, Mary O’Malley, Anne Enright, Marina Carr and Sara Baume. The awards, judged each year by major Irish and international authors, were administered by Ciaran Carty between 1989 and 2018 when the Hennessy brand ended its 48 years of sponsorship.
As directors of the standalone editorial company that administers the page, we are deeply grateful to literary editor Martin Doyle and everyone in The Irish Times who have helped to keep the page afloat since then, while we unsuccessfully (to date at least) sought new sponsors for these important launch pad awards. We recognise that, during this perilous financial crisis for newspapers, it is impossible for the page to continue. We have kept it alive for as long as possible and still hope that, at some future date and perhaps in some new format, this unique outlet will be relaunched.
We are deeply grateful to Anthony Glavin for years of editorial advice and to Niamh Donnelly for proffering similar advice in recent months. We wish to express our gratitude to the Hennessy family and the staff at Edward Dillon and Company for their support and sponsorship over the decades; to the illustrators who artwork has graced the page, and to all the staff at the now defunct Sunday Tribune, the Irish Independent and, most recently and crucially, The Irish Times for their generosity of spirit in allowing this page to continue until now.
Most especially we are grateful to the thousands of writers who submitted work to Ciaran Carty over the decades, both those who we have been able to find space to publish and those for whom, unfortunately, there was no available space. We have been privileged to read the first drafts of generations of Irish writers.
We thank everyone for their support and wish every success to alternative outlets that are bound to emerge in time as we reach the end – for now at least – of what has been a remarkable rollercoaster journey. – Yours, etc,
New Irish Writing Ltd,