Gail McConnell shortlisted for the John Pollard Prize

Blog | Published on February 25, 2022

The shortlist for the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize 2022 has been announced today by the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre and includes Penned in the Margins author Gail McConnell for The Sun is Open.

This is the fourth year of the prize, which is awarded annually for an outstanding debut collection of poetry in the English language. Valued at €10,000, the prize is sponsored by the John Pollard Foundation and administered by the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin. The patron of the John Pollard Foundation is Stephen Vernon, who named the foundation in memory of his grandfather, John Pollard. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Trinity College on 12 April 2022.


The shortlisted publications are:


Threa Almontaser The Wild Fox of Yemen (Picador)
Gail McConnell The Sun is Open (Penned in the Margins)
Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe Auguries of a Minor God (Faber)
Alice Hiller Bird of Winter (Liverpool University Press)
Ralf Webb Rotten Days in Late Summer (Penguin)
Daisy Lafarge Life Without Air (Granta)


Announcing the 2022 shortlist, chair of the judging panel, Professor Eoin McNamee, Director of the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre, said:


“This was an exceptional shortlist chosen from 52 entries. Each of the six books are vibrant, lit from within. Ranging across the wounded terrains of the heart, of the body, of broken lands, each of the six authors brings hard won beauty and insight to the surface. You come away from these books enriched and emboldened in the cause of poetry. It was a privilege for myself and fellow judges Phillip Coleman, Vona Groarke and Alice Lyons to read and debate this work.”


Speaking from her home in Belfast, Gail McConnell said:


“I am honoured that The Sun is Open has been selected as one of the poetry books ‘lit from within’ in a strong shortlist and I thank the judges for the time, attention and understanding they have extended to my work.”


The Sun is Open was published in September 2021. It was Poetry Book of the Month in The Observer and a TLS Book of the Year.

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