The Crescent Arts Centre has launched a new competition to honour a much-loved Belfast poet called the Mairtín Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story.

Michael Longley has described the late Crawford as "a saint of poetry" and the awards will be aimed at writers working towards their first full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel.

Both published and unpublished writers from all over the world are invited to submit between three to five poems for the poetry award, and a short story of up to 2,500 words for the short story award. 

The only stipulations are that entrants must not yet have published a full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel and entries must be in the English language.. 

CEO of The Crescent Arts Centre, Sophie Hayles, said: "As a creative writing tutor, writer-in-residence and Director of the Between the Lines festival, Mairtín Crawford was a huge part of The Crescent Arts Centre family before his untimely death in 2004. 

"As Michael Longley so memorably said, Mairtin 'gave so much more than he took and made things possible for lots of other people'.

Sophie Hayles, CEO of the Crescent Arts Centre

"Although the tenth Belfast Book Festival will not take place in June 2020 due to the current public health crisis, we are delighted to still be running the Mairtín Crawford Awards as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting emerging talent."

The deadline for submissions to the Mairtín Crawford Awards is midnight on Wednesday 13 May.

For the 2020 Awards, each award winner will receive a cash prize of £1,000 and a three-night stay at the writing and reading retreat The River Mill in Co Down. The runners-up for each award will be given a cash prize of £250. 

For more information on the Mairtín Crawford Awards and to find out how to enter, go here.