Irish Writers' Union

Chomhar na Scribhneoiri

If you are a writer, then you are a writer; established, struggling, or forever hopeful, so join with other writers for the benefit of all.



Every third Wednesday of each month, the IWU will hold a Clinic at the Irish Writers' Centre from 7pm-8.30pm.

Members of the Committee will be available to discuss problems and offer advice.

Why not drop in and see us!


The next EU Parliament will, undoubtedly, look at the issue of copyright in all of its forms. We at the Irish Writers' Union want to ensure that a level playing field is maintained for all stakeholders. Ireland's deep literary heritage is something in which we can all take pride. Writers rely on copyright laws to ensure that their rights as creators are upheld and that they get their fair share of any profit made from their works.

The publication of a writer's work sees a coming together of the writer, the reader, and everyone in-between. The Irish Writers' Union calls on all candidates running in the upcoming EU elections to do all they can to ensure that any changes to copyright laws in the coming term will continue to ensure fairness and balance in all copyright matters. Every word in a proposed law can have a dramatic effect on the rights, the income and the viability of those who would seek a career as a writer.

In addition to the millions of paper books available, citizens of the EU can access over two million e-books on a multitude of platforms. Lets ensure that these new emerging markets continue to ensure the fair protection of all involved.

The Irish Writers' Union recognises that copyright issues evolve and welcomes a debate on the future of the matter. We call on all EU MEPs to recognise the central importance of copyright in the creation and dissemination of ideas in the EU and in its role as a safeguard to the livelihood of writers across the continent.

Fair Use

Fair Play


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Following the great success of the 2013 competition,the Irish Writers' Union, in association with the Irish Writers' Centre, are very pleased to announce the launch of the 2014 James Plunkett Short Story Award.

The judge for the 2014 competition will be Booker and IMPAC nominee Donal Ryan.

The Irish Writers' Union is delighted to continue celebrating the legacy of Plunkett, one of our founder members, through this competition. There is no restriction on theme or genre. Entrants are simply asked to recall Plunkett's skill as a social commentator when writing.

First Prize: €2000

Second Prize: €1000

Third Prize: €500

Closing Date for Entries: Friday, September 12th

The Grand Final will be held in the Irish Writers' Centre on Wednesday, November 4th (date TBC)

Entries should be between 1000 and 3000 words and should be sent to:

The Irish Writers' Union

19 Parnell Square

Dublin 1

There is no limit on the number of submissions an entrant can make. Entry costs €10 per submission (please make cheques payable to the Irish Writers' Union).

Photos of the 2013 evening


A Long List of 30 entries will be published on the website of the Irish Writers' Union before the winning entrants will be selected.



Q: What format should I use?

A: Ideally typed, double spaced and bound with a single staple in the corner. The name of the Author should not appear on the story, but on a separate cover sheet.

Q: Is there an entry form?

A: No - but the cover sheet should include the story title, author's name and contact details (telephone no, address and email). The cover sheet should also contain the word count.

Q: How will I find out the results?

A: The Irish Writers' Union will email all entrants that provide email addresses to confirm receipt of entry (though this may take a little time as we are a voluntary organisation!). We will then also email with the long list and the short list when announced. The Long List will also be published on our website.

Q: How will I find out the shortlist?

A: The three stories that make the final shortlist will be announced in advance. The prizes themselves i.e., the story that won first, second and third, will be announced on Wednesday, November 4th by Donal Ryan.

Q: What languages are accepted?

A: We will accept entries in English and Irish.

Q: If I am on the final shortlist of three, what can I expect?

A: All shortlisted authors will be asked to read their stories on the night of the final (we will pay a reading fee of €100 to each). Thus, attendance at the event is expected. At this point, we have yet to confirm publication of the shortlisted stories but if we manage to put together such a deal, it will be announced in advance.

Q: Are there any other perks of entry?

A: The Irish Writers' Union will - in the months following the competition - put together a pdf ebook on tips and hints that will be of use to short story writers. We will use the experience of the competition to see what hints and tips we judge would be of most use to entrants generally. This will, simply, be emailed free to any entrant who provides their email address on entry. It is hoped that this will be a benefit to the art of short story writing in Ireland generally.

Q: Is there a theme?

A: No. James Plunkett had a wonderful empathy in his writing. We are not looking to unearth another James Plunkett and we are not looking for entrants to write lost chapters of Strumpet City! We simply ask that you think of him, of his empathy and of his skill as a social commentator when writing. Neither is the Plunkett Award limited to any genre.

Q: Anything else?

A: We ask for your patience. We are a voluntary organization simply trying to provide a writing opportunity. There may be hic-coughs - but we will do what we can to resolve them.

Irish Writers' Union 25th Anniversary Event

The anniversary celebration held at the Guinness Storehouse,on the evening of Saturday 15th December, proved an excellent event and the special guest was honorary IWU member President Michael D. Higgins, one of the Union's original members, who made a point of mingling and chatting with every guest, posing for photos with all. Many are now available to be viewed on our website here. All can be sent out to members on request.