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From Belfast, Paul has previously lived for sixteen years between Prague, Mexico, Switzerland, London, Berlin, Sweden, and India. His debut poetry chapbook, Bourdon, was published by Southword Editions. 

Winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Prize, 2023, and The Plaza Poetry Prize, 2024, Paul was also awarded The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize by Carol Ann Duffy and The Nottingham Open Poetry Prize by Neil Astley. Other poetry awards include 1st prize in The Moth International Poetry Prize, 1st prize in The Westival International Poetry Prize, 1st prize in The Fingal Poetry Prize, 1st prize in The Golden Pen Poetry Prize, 2nd prize in The Basil Bunting Poetry Prize, 2nd prize in The Salt International Poetry Prize, 2nd prize in The Martin Crawford Poetry Prize, Runner-up prize winner in The Troubadour, The Tom Howard and The Atlanta Review Poetry Prizes, bursary awards for poetry from The Arts Councils of Ireland and N. Ireland, and commendations in over sixty other competitions, including the Montreal International Poetry Prize. 

His poetry has appeared in journals such as Poetry Review, Rialto, London Magazine, Threepenny Review, Agenda, Atlanta Review, Stinging Fly, Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, Southword, and The Best New British and Irish Poets.

A recipient of one of the Commemoration Bursaries to develop his new play with The Abbey Theatre, Paul McMahon’s plays have also been shortlisted for The Old Vic 12, The Listowel Writers’ Week Eamon Keane Full-Length Play Award (twice), The New Directions Playwriting Award, and longlisted for The Bruntwood Playwriting Prize.

His play, The Glasshouse, was produced by Terra Nova Productions and performed in The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, in April 2014, as part of The Arrivals Project, which subsequently went on a successful two-week tour throughout N. Ireland. 


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

As songwriter/ composer, he performs both as a solo artist and with The Pied Wagtail Collective. He also writes lyrics for other recording artists.  

Paul McMahon at the Keats Shelley Award Ceremony
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