Nationwide search for 15 talented teenage writers to take part in the second annual Edna O’Brien Young Writers Bursary 2021

The Museum of Literature Ireland, MoLI is launching a nationwide search for 15 talented teenage writers to take part in the second annual Edna O’Brien Young Writers Bursary.

The Edna O’Brien Young Writers Bursary is an immersive, week-long writing programme running both online and onsite in MoLI from Monday, 19th July, until Friday 23rd 2021 (subject to public health guidelines).    The winning students will have their work published as a special edition under the MoLI Editions imprint, will be given membership of the museum and invited to various museum events throughout the year and if travelling to Dublin, all travel costs and meals will be provided for week-long bursary attendees (subject to public health restrictions).  Applications can be made via MoLI’s online form

The selected 15 young writers will develop their creative practice under the guidance of a leading Irish author, as well as meeting with representatives from the publishing industry, UCD academic staff and other writers. The goal of the bursary is to attract young writers with significant potential, and afford them the opportunity to explore that potential, whilst gaining an introduction to the world of publishing and literature as a course of academic study.

Director of the museum Simon O’Connor said: “So often a young person’s creative health can be subsumed by the pressure of exams, college application, and thoughts of future careers. We hope that this Bursary catches young authors on the cusp of adulthood, encourages them to nurture and explore their gifts, and gives them a glimpse of the possibilities that lie ahead.”

Last year’s recipients were mentored by Irish writer Alan McMonagle, who was personally selected by Edna O’Brien and the winning students were also treated to some special guest speakers during the week-long programme including Colum Mc CannNatalya O’FlahertySarah Maria GriffinPaul Perry, and Lisa Coen. Speaking of what the programme has meant to them, some previous bursary recipients have said:

Amy Cahill, Wexford: “The Edna O’Brien Young Writer’s Bursary made me fall in love with writing all over again. Ironically, words cannot express how wonderful the whole experience was!”

Daniel Madden, Monaghan: “An amazing week of exploration into the very real world of writing, alongside some incredibly talented young people who have become great friends.”

Amée O’Kelly, Dublin: “The Bursary gave me permission to call myself a writer.”

“We are not looking for polished, finished pieces of writing, or writers with large amounts of experience. We are simply interested in hearing from young people who have a way with words and a passion for storytelling,” said Jennie Ryan, MoLI’s Head of Learning and Culture.

The Edna O’Brien Young Writers Bursary welcomes applications from young writers from across the island of Ireland, and actively encourages applications from a diversity of ethnic or cultural groups including, but not limited to, Asian, Black, Traveller and minority ethnic, refugees, people with disabilities, working-class and LGBTQI+.

The Edna O’Brien Bursary follows MoLI’s commitment to youth creativity; from the huge success of the Bright Sparks Creative Bursts online series with children’s author Sarah Webb, and NovelTeens, an online video and podcast series of creative writing mini-masterclasses for teenagers.

MoLI’s learning programme is at the core of the museum’s vision to bring visitors on an inspiring journey through Irish writing and encourage them to explore their own creative potential. Additionally, we strive to develop activities in partnership with organisations from different sectors and to work with audiences who may not previously have taken part in cultural institutions. 

Jennie Ryan, Head of Learning and Culture at MoLI,said, “I am delighted to announce that we are open to applications for The Edna O’Brien Bursary, 2021. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any teenager who would like to be a writer, or perhaps they already are one? Our hope is that we receive applications from all over the island of Ireland. If you know a young person in this age range, tell them about it – encourage them to apply online.  You never know, you may have the next Sally Rooney or James Joyce in your class, youth club or your family.  And, one day they’ll thank you for the gentle nudge. Please spread the word!”

To apply simply complete the online form and submit via www.moli/bursary and for more on The Edna O’Brien Bursary, 2021 and the MoLI learning programme, contact Jennie Ryan, Head of Learning and Culture directly at

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