Paul McMahon

Paul McMahon

Freelance Writer

  • Career stage: Experienced
  • Freelancer: Available

From Belfast, Paul McMahon, is a playwright, poet,, musician, and part-time poetry facilitator for City Lit London College, Covent Garden. He holds an MA in Creative Writing, with first class honours, from NUIG, Ireland. He has previously lived for sixteen years between Prague, Mexico, Switzerland, London, Berlin, Sweden, and India.

He has been mentored in playwriting by Graham Whybrow (Royal Court Theatre), Hanna Slattne (Tinderbox Theatre Company) and Gavin Kostic (Fishamble Theatre Company).

Paul McMahon’s plays have been shortlisted for The Old Vic 12 (2015), The Listowel Eamon Keane Full-Length Play Award (twice),), The New Directions Playwriting Prize, and Long-listed for The Bruntwood Playwriting Prize.

His commissioned play, The Glasshouse, was given a week-long professional production in The Crescent Arts Centre, in Belfast, April 2014, with Terra Nova Productions, and then went on a successful tour throughout Northern Ireland.

Other plays include, The Blueprint, performed, with assistance from Fishamble, at The Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival, Parallels, performed at The Muscailt Theatre Festival, Galway, and The Devil at the Door, (an extract) performed as part of the New Writing Hothouse by the Tinderbox Theatre Company at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast.

Paul McMahon’s debut poetry chapbook, Bourdon, was published by Southword Editions in November, 2016, and recently received a glowing review by Alison Brackenbury in the PN Review, (2017, summer edition): "Paul Mc Mahon's Bourdon tells an involving, passionate story… The lines sweep on, a lit wave of loss and longing."

His poetry awards include 1st prize in The Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, 2011 (Judge: Matthew Sweeney), The Nottingham Open Poetry Prize, 2012 (Judge: Neil Astley), The Westport Poetry Prize, 2011 (Judge: Dermot Healy), The Golden Pen Poetry Prize, 2011 (Judge: John Harding), 2nd prize in The Basil Bunting Poetry Prize, 2012 (Judge: August Kleinzhaler), 2nd prize in The Salt International Poetry Prize, 2013 (Judges: Chris and Jen Hamilton-Emery), and bursary awards for poetry from The Arts Council of Ireland, 2013, and the Arts Council of N. Ireland, 2016. In 2015 he was awarded The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize by Carol Ann Duffy.

He has also been short-listed for The Hennessy Poetry Award, The Atlanta Review Poetry Prize (runner up), The Bridport Poetry Prize, The Plough Poetry Prize, The Montreal International Poetry Prize, The Fool for Poetry Chapbook Prize, The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award (2 Special Commendations and 2 short-listings), The Listowel Poetry Collection Prize, The Dromineer Poetry Prize (3rd prize). The Aquillrelle poetry Prize (3rd prize), The iYeats International Poetry Prize (finalist), The Tom Howard International Poetry Prize (runner up), The Dermot Healy International Poetry Prize, The Robert Monteith International Poetry Prize, The Martin Crawford Poetry Prize, The FSNI Poetry Prize (Finalist), The Chapter One Poetry Prize, Rubies in the Darkness Poetry Prize (runner up), as well as being longlisted for numerous others.

He has been awarded writing residencies at Cill Rialaig and The Heinrich Boll Cottage.

Twice nominated for The Forward Prize, his poetry has appeared in journals such as Ireland: The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Southword, The Moth, Revival, The Stony Thursday Book, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, Crannog, The Honest Ulsterman, Abridged, Ropes, and Boyne Berries. US: The Threepenny Review, The Atlanta Review, Prelude, The Crabcreek Review, Fusion (Berklee College), The Ofi Press, The 2nd Hand, Alors Et Toi?, and Numero Cinq. UK: Agenda, Ambit, The Interpreter’s House, The Keats-Shelley Review, Orbis, Rubies in the Darkness, and Eborakon. Mainland Europe: The Poetry Salzburg Review.

His poetry has also been published in various anthologies, most recently The Salt Anthology of New Writing (2013), The Montreal International Poetry Prize Global Anthology (2013), More Raw Material (2016), and Three Drops in the Cauldron (2017). His poetry has also been broadcast on RTE Radio and BBC Radio N. Ireland.

He was selected for The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series (2014), The Cork Spring Poetry Festival Pre-Booked Readings (2015), and was a featured poet at The New Writers’ Salon at the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival (2015).

He has also been invited reader at Cuirt, Electric Picnic, Ó Bheal, The Poet Laureate and National Poets Event at the Knocknarea Arena, Cairde Arts Festival, The Irish Writers’ Centre, The City Lit Literature Festival (Covent Gardens), The Electric Picnic, The Spirit of Voice Arts Festival, Templehouse Arts Festival, and others.


  • Scriptwriting
  • Copy-editing
  • Playwriting
  • Poetry
  • Short filmmaking