The Neill O’Neill Creativity Awards have been officially launched, with entries welcome since 9am on Monday, February 4. The awards are designed to recognise outstanding creativity in photography, writing and art. There are three different age categories for each – primary school, secondary school and adult. (Scroll to the end for how to enter any of the categories, and the awards’ guidelines and rules.)
These awards are being held to honour the memory of Neill O’Neill (pictured), former Managing Editor of The Mayo News, who passed away in October 2017.
The three award categories reflect Neill’s passion for creativity and storytelling. He was a keen photographer, with an eye for a good shot and an appreciation of the power of the still image. He loved the written word, building his career around it – and no man loved a good yarn more. When it came to art, he had strong opinions; whether he loved it or hated a particular example, he was never indifferent, nor shy of sharing his view.
Most of all, Neill was passionate about Mayo, and this love of his county is reflected in the theme that all entries must adhere to: ‘What Mayo Means to Me’. While all the photos, artworks and written pieces must adhere to this theme, entrants are free to give a different title to their work. For this reason, entrants are asked to accompany their submission with a short (up to 200 words) explanation of why or how their entry reflects the competition’s theme.
For example, a photographic entry entitled ‘Sunrise at Lough Lannagh’ would be accompanied by a brief explanation of the significance of the image and how it reflects what Mayo means to the photographer.
Each of the three categories is further broken down into age-related sub-categories. These are primary school, secondary school and adult. The adult category is open to entrants aged 18 and over. Entrants who fall into the adult category age-wise but who are still in school can enter either the secondary-school category or the adult category (but not both).
The judges in the writing category are Mayo News columnist and respected journalist, Seán Rice; Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Writer-In-Residence, Elizabeth (EM) Reapy; and Ciara Moynihan, Mayo News Living/Opinion/Web Editor and Chief Sub Editor.
The panel tasked with judging the art entries are accomplished Mayo-based artists Breda Burns and Marie Wood, and Dr John Mulloy, who lectures in Art History, Contemporary Art Theory and Creativity in Social Care at GMIT Mayo.
In the photography section, the submissions will be adjudicated by acclaimed professional photographers Michael McLaughlin, Frank Dolan and Alison Laredo.
The winning entrants will be presented a cash prize (see links below), a trophy and – depending on the age category – either a school profile in The Mayo News or a year’s subscription to mayonews.ie.
The winners will be presented with their awards at a special awards ceremony, to be held shortly after the competition results have been made public, and their work will also form part of an exhibition to be run after the winners have been announced.
For more information on how to enter, and for the awards’ guidelines and rules, please visit mayonews.ie/awards and click on the relevant awards section, or choose one of the links below.