Alicia Ehrecke of Inver College, Carrickmacross, receives a 'Very Highly Commended' Hot Press award for her short story from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Christy Burke Photo: Hot Press

Alicia Ehrecke of Inver College, Carrickmacross, receives a ‘Very Highly Commended’ Hot Press award for her short story from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Christy Burke Photo: Hot Press

Northern Standard: Thursday 7th May  Carrickmacross News

Alicia Ehrecke from Inver College in Carrickmacross, whose short story was published in The Northern Standard last week, has received one of the top awards in the prestigious Write Here, Write Now competition, run by Hot Press magazine.  Her entry ‘All the Same’ was Very Highly Commended in the Second-Level students’ category.

The day after receiving the award, 17 year-old Alicia returned to her home at Cottbus (near Berlin) in Germany. She had been studying at Inver College since last September as an exchange student.

The Principal Roddy Minogue said everyone at the College was delighted with her success, and he felt it would provide an inspiration to other students. He said Alicia had deserved recognition for her work as she had been a very good student who participated well in all classes and her attendance record during the eight months she spent there was excellent.

At the Mansion House in Dublin, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke presented awards to Alicia and to the other winners. On the final day of the One City One Book festival, which this year celebrated one of the great modern Irish sagas – The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle –  Hot Press, in association with Dublin City Libraries’ One City, One Book Festival, revealed Alicia as among the very best new, student writing talents in the country.

Alicia Ehrecke, Inver College, Carrickmacross  Photo: HotPress

Alicia Ehrecke, Inver College, Carrickmacross Photo: HotPress

Forty-four young student writers were invited to ‘Build Your Own Barrytown’. Before the awards ceremony, the shortlisted students were treated to a brilliantly insightful interview, as Roisin Dwyer of Hote Press quizzed Man Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle on  the craft of writing. The Barrytown Trilogy author was a member of the judging panel, which also comprised IMPAC Award winner Kevin Barry, Rooney Prize winner Claire Kilroy, Hot Press editor Niall Stokes and composer Julie Feeney, who was also at The Mansion House to meet those shortlisted. The public had their say too, adding their voices to the mix, with Waterford’s Rose Keating receiving the special Readers’ Award.

The Write Here, Write Now student writing competition saw an instant and enormous reaction from young talent across the country. Thousands of entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 44, across the four categories of the competition. While the number of entries was huge, even more importantly – in both the Second and Third Level categories – the judges were enormously impressed by the superb quality of the submissions.

“Concerns have been expressed that young people are less interested now in the power of the written word. On the contrary, on this evidence, there is a new breed coming through with the ability to write in a way that is genuinely original, smart, powerfully contemporary and emotionally engaging,” said Hot Press editor Niall Stokes. “Hot Press has always been about supporting emerging Irish creativity – which is why a competition like Write Here, Write Now is so important to us. However, it is more important than ever for us to ensure that this latent talent is channelled effectively, so hopefully today’s event will provide the encouragement to Alicia and other remarkable young Monaghan writers to press on, work hard and develop their potential over the coming years.”

Roddy Doyle himself also gave his verdict, saying that some of the submissions as “frighteningly good – surprising, sharp, sometimes chilling, confident.”

“It is enormously reassuring to see the depth of young writing talent, which is reflected in the Write Here Write Now competition,” said Dublin City Librarian, Margaret Hayes. “Literature is so important to the life of a nation and indeed, as Roddy Doyle has illustrated so well with The Barrytown Trilogy, to the life of a city. Dublin City Libraries are at the heart of the drive to ensure that we never forget the value of reading. Not only that: one of our core objectives, through the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Office, is to encourage writers – which is why we are so proud to have been involved in the success of  the Write Here, Write Now competition.”

The competition was supported by Dublin City Libraries, Dublin City Council, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Eason and Microsoft Office 365. The overall winners’ prizes included an internship during 2015 with Hot Press, the country’s leading music and lifestyle magazine, as well as a €250 cash prize, a Toshiba Click Mini and a Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Mouse. They also received an e-Reader, courtesy of Eason and will have their winning entry published in a special issue of Hot Press, potentially kick-starting their career in the best possible fashion. In addition, 22 students received a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365, an invaluable tool for students and creative types!

All the winning entries including Alicia’s can now be read at