To mark the 24th anniversary of the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Maynooth University Library is running a poetry competition with Maynooth Education Campus.  

Senior Category (Transition year and beyond)
1st Prize – Samsung Galaxy Tablet  
2nd Prize - €50 book token 
3rd Prize - €25 book token 

Junior Category (First, second and third year)
1st Prize – €100 One For All voucher  
2nd Prize - €50 book token 
3rd Prize - €25 book token 

Competition Guidelines

Online Entry Form

Background to the Award 

Ken Saro-Wiwa was an eco-hero to the Ogoni people, who lived in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. He fought against the pollution of his beloved homeland by the international petrochemical industry and gave his life for this cause. While in military detention, he wrote letters and poems full of hope, and sent them to his friend Sister Majella McCarron.  

When Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues (the Ogoni 9) were arrested on trumped-up charges, Sister Majella campaigned in Ireland and internationally to save their lives.  Despite her efforts, the Ogoni 9 were executed on 10th November 1994.  Prisoners in Nigeria were not fed by the prison authorities and friends and family must bring them food.  Ken Saro-Wiwa’s letters to Sister Majella were smuggled out of military detention in breadbaskets and donated, by Sister Majella, to Maynooth University in 2011.  
Now, because of Ken’s passionate activism, Sister Majella’s dedication to sharing his message and the work of Maynooth University Library, people around the world know about the plight of the Ogoni people. 
Poetry Competition

We write poetry, songs, and stories when we feel passionate about something – whether it is injustice, abuse of power, or simply awe at the beauty of the world around us.
Maynooth University Library is running a poetry competition, with Maynooth Education Campus, judged by poet Jessica Traynor, on developing a poem that relates to the theme of saving our planet – being an eco-hero.  This could be a poem about major environmental issues led by brave campaigners like Ken Saro-Wiwa, or everyday people in your town or home, making a small but significant difference. See prompts below for inspiration!
Prizes will be presented at an event on the afternoon of Thursday 14th November in Maynooth University Library. The Library particularly encourages entries from students who are part of new Irish communities.

Writing Prompts

You can write about anything related to the environment, but if you’re looking for inspiration, here are some prompts to get you thinking.
1.  Imagine you’ve woken after a night of rain to find your house flooded. Write a poem about all the special things you’ve lost.
2.  You are the last wolf or lion or snow leopard or human left in the world. Write a poem about your experience.
3.  Imagine a world where the ice caps have melted. Write about your daily routine.
4.  Imagine you have been imprisoned, like Ken Saro-Wiwa like a songbird in a cage. Write a poem about the thing or person you miss the most.
5.  Imagine we have lost the majority of the world’s animals and in future you have to describe a lion, a tiger, a bear, a horse, a peacock, a whale, an elephant or any other animal to your child who will never see one. Write a poem in the voice of the parent talking to their child. 

You can see listen to last year’s winning poem by Conor Walsh at

For more inspiration, you can read more about the life and writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa here: