The 2016 Hanna Greally Literary Awards will be presented at the SiarScéal Festival 2016, which takes place in Roscommon over two days - Friday and Saturday, 7-8 October. See our Festival page for a full programme of events.
The year's competition honoured Hanna Greally, author of Bird's Nest Soup and for whom the awards are named. Poet, Ann Joyce was the adjudicator. Participating schools included Roscommon Community College - CBS, the Mercy Convent, Abbey Boys NS, Castleplunkett NS and Abbeycarton NS.
A selection of entries from 2015 and previous years' awards are included in the forthcoming anthology, Centenary in Reflection, which is to be launched at this year's festival. See our Festival page for a full programme of events.
Hanna Greally (also known as Johanna or Joan Greally) was born in Athlone in 1925. At the age of nineteen, she was committed to St. Loman’s psychiatric hospital in Mullingar, where she was detained, against her will, for almost 20 years. Despite several escape attempts and numerous letters to her relatives to claim her out, Hanna remained in St. Loman’s until 1962.
She spent some time in rehabilitation and re-training in Coolamber House before working as a cook and housekeeper, in Ireland and in England. In 1971, Hanna saw the publication in Ireland of Bird Nest Soup, her moving first-person account of life inside Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals, in the 1940s and 1950s. In the early 1970s, she came to live in Fourmilehouse, Roscommon where she spent most of the remainder of her days after the ‘Big House’.
She was a regular contributor to the Roscommon Champion, writing letters, poems and other autobiographical pieces for the paper. Hanna Greally died on August 15, 1987. The Hanna Greally Literary Awards were inaugurated on the 10th anniversary of her death and have been held every year since.
A list of previous winners of Hanna Greally Literary Awards is available here.
A selection of entries, representing the cream of the first five years was published in 2012 in the form of an anthology entitled Roscommon in Reflection, which is available to buy online.
A further anthology, Centenary in Reflection, is to be published in 2016 and will be formally launched at the SiarScéal Festival in October. See our Festival page for a full programme of events.