Launching the 2023 Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition

The eagerly awaited launch of the 2023 Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition is set to ignite the imaginations of poets around the world. The competition returns for 2023 with new categories and more chances than ever to claim a prize.

The Frances Browne Poetry Competition has been running since 2008. From its base in the heart of Donegal, NW Ireland, it has attracted entries from across the globe. Uniquely, the competition celebrates the linguistic heritage of the north of Ireland.  Entries are invited by poets writing in all of the region’s languages.

Named for the prolific Donegal author and poetess, Frances Browne, known as the Blind Poetess of Ulster (1816-1879), the poetry competition now runs in tandem with the Frances Browne Literary Festival. Celebrating its third year in 2023, the festival takes place in Co. Donegal from 12th to 15th October.

Launching the competition, Chairperson Celine McGlynn says, ‘Our poetry competition is celebrating its 15th year and every year we continue to be impressed by the enthusiastic response and exceptional quality of entries. I am sure this year will be no exception, and we anticipate another outstanding showcase of talent.'

'In the past three years in particular, since the Frances Browne Festival was launched, we have received entries from as far afield as the US, Canada and Singapore. It gives us great satisfaction to feel that Frances’s life and work is being brought to the notice of so many people through the competition. We would like to thank Donegal County Council for their ongoing support for the Poetry Competition and the Festival.’

In an exciting development, new categories are being launched to celebrate and encourage local writers in East Donegal. These are the people who Frances grew up among and from whom she learned her love of language. Living in a place where English, Irish and Ulster Scots are spoken on a daily basis, they have an innate creativity and way with words that lends itself to poetry and song.

In particular, the Committee is delighted to launch the Eilish McBride Award, in memory of a remarkable and prolific local writer renowned for beautifully capturing the essence of family and life in the Finn Valley. This category is generously sponsored by Eilish's daughter, Edel, as a tribute to her mother.

With an impressive total prize fund of €1500, the Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition stands as an unique opportunity for poets from diverse backgrounds to come together and celebrate their craft.

How to enter

Entries accepted between 20 June and 20 August 2023 online or in person. €5 per entry. No limit on the number of poems.

Categories for entry are as follows

  • English Language - First Prize - €250, Second Prize - €100, Third Prize, €50
  • Irish Language - First Prize - €250, Second Prize - €100, Third Prize, €50
  • Ulster Scots Language - First Prize - €250, Second Prize - €100, Third Prize, €50


For 2023 we are introducing three new categories!

There will be one winning entry in each of these categories. The prize for each category is €100

  • The Eilish McBride Award - English Language - Local - Sponsored by Edel MacBride
  • Irish Language - Local
  • Ulster Scots Language - Local


‘Local’ categories are open to individuals who were born in and/or are currently living in the Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District of County Donegal.  For details of this area please refer to the link to the Donegal County Council website, or contact the festival committee for confirmation.

For full terms and conditions, schedule of dates and to enter please see our website; email or contact the team via the offices of the Finn Valley Voice - +353 (0)74 913 1665

 Full details, along with paper copy and online entry details are available on our website  or email


About the Frances Browne Literary Festival

The Frances Browne Literary Festival will take place in Ballybofey-Stranorlar, Co Donegal, Rep of Ireland from 12th to 15th October 2023

Frances Browne, the Blind Poetess of Ulster, is the most important writer ever to emerge from Donegal's Finn Valley. Our aim is to promote a revival of interest in Frances in her native area and beyond. By reviving the literary legacy of Frances Browne we celebrate the unique linguistic and cultural diversity of this part of Donegal, the only place in Ireland where Irish, English and Ulster-Scots language is spoken on a daily basis.

In honour of Frances we also celebrate and support writers, artists and musicians - new, established and unjustly forgotten - who add to the richness of her legacy. We seek to tell the stories of other, less well known writers, from the North West in all traditions. We work with schools to bring not only an awareness of the lives and works of these writers, but the principles and values they upheld which are as pertinent in today's society as it was in theirs. And we invite leading authors, directors, artists and academics to share in the conversation with us.

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