Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust Announce Winners of the 2023 Student Award

The Ireland Chair of Poetry is delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Student Award. Now in its fourth year, the Student Award is an initiative encouraging the writing of poetry within the three universities that support the Trust.

The Trust has awarded the following students:

Rhiannon McGavin

Shakeema Edwards

Simon Goligher

Emma Buckley

Cullan Maclear

Sam Furlong

Commenting on the submissions received for the 2023 Student Award, the adjudication panel, comprised of two Trustees together with the current Ireland Chair of Poetry, Professor Paul Muldoon, had this to say:

“One of the most gratifying aspects of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust is that we’re able not only to acknowledge promise in the next generation of poets but to actively encourage it.  The Gaelic proverb “Mol an oige agus tiocfaidh si” – praise youth and it will flourish – is as sound a basis for any artistic world view as any we can come up with. We should add that this is not a matter of free-floating, unfocussed encomium; each of the six student poets honored here has already achieved something quite specific that contributes to our sense of what it is to live in an Ireland that is as dynamic as it is socially diverse.”

Each student will be awarded a prize of €1,000. All prize winners have expressed their delight and thanks to the Trust in their acceptance of the award.


Rhiannon McGavin is a former Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The BelieverTeen Vogue, The Los Angeles TimesTaco Bell Quarterly, and more. She is the author of Branches and Grocery List Poems (Not a Cult). She lives in Ireland.

Shakeema Edwards is an Antiguan American poet studying with the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.

Simon Goligher is from Portrush, County Antrim. He received his BA in English and Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast in 2022 and is currently reading for his MA in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre.

Emma Buckley is a writer and poet from Northern Ireland and is currently studying a Poetry MA at Queen’s University Belfast. Her work can be found in The Lumiere Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Superfroot, Overground Underground and The Honest Ulsterman.

Cullan Maclear is a queer writer and visual artist interested in manhood, ancestry and ecology. Born in Cape Town, he is currently pursuing an MA in Poetry from Queen’s University, Belfast. 

Samson Furlong Tighe is a transmasculine poet from Dublin, pursing an MA in poetry in Belfast. Their work has been published in Abridged, Sonder, and Wax Nine.