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Welcome to the Munster
Literature Centre

Founded in 1993, the Munster Literature Centre (Ionad Litríochta an Deiscirt) is a non-profit arts organisation dedicated to the promotion and celebration of literature, especially that of Munster. To this end, we organise festivals, workshops, readings and competitions. Our publishing section, Southword Editions, publishes a biannual journal, poetry collections and short stories. We actively seek to support new and emerging writers and are assisted in our efforts through funding from Cork City Council, Cork County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland.Originally located in Sullivan's Quay, the centre moved to its current premises in the Frank O'Connor House (the author's birthplace) at 84 Douglas Street, in 2003.

In 2000, the Munster Literature Centre organised the first Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival, an event dedicated to the celebration of the short story and named for one of Cork's most beloved authors. The festival showcases readings, literary forums and workshops. Following continued growth and additional funding, the Cork City - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award was introduced in 2005, coinciding with Cork's designation as that year's European Capital of Culture. The award is now recognised as the single biggest prize for a short story collection in the world and is presented at the end of the festival.In 2002, the Munster Literature Centre introduced the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize, an annual short story competition dedicated to one of Ireland's most accomplished story writers and theorists. This too is presented during the FOC festival. The centre also hosts the Cork Spring Literary Festival each year, at which the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize is awarded (established 2010).

Workshops are held by featured authors in both autumn and spring, allowing the general public to receive creative guidance in an intimate setting for a minimal fee. In addition, the centre sponsors a Writer in Residence each year. We invite you to browse our website for further information regarding our events, Munster literature, and other literary information. Should you have any queries, we would be happy to hear from you.




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Munster Literature Centre







Cork City - Frank O'Connor Short Story Award Winner 2009

Shortlisted Authors 2009

Longlisted Authors 2009


2009 Festival Programme

Back to the Frank O'Connor Award Main Page

Visit Award Pages: 2010 or 2011






Simon Van BooyAnglo-Welsh author Simon Van Booy was announced as the winner of the 2009 Cork City - Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. The announcement was made by Patrick Cotter on Sunday at the closing ceremony of the tenth annual Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival. New York resident Van Booy (pronounced BOY) has won for his second collection of stories called Love Begins in Winter published in the UK by Beautiful Books and in the USA by Harper Perrennial. The award is worth 35,000 euro, the largest monetary prize for the short story form. Now in its fifth year, arguably the award has grown to be the world's most prestigious prize for writers of short stories.  It is administered by the Munster Literature Centre in Cork and made possible through the generous sponsorship of Cork City Council.
Simon Van Booy was born in London and grew up in rural Wales and Oxford. After playing football in Kentucky, he lived in Paris and Athens. In 2002 he was awarded an MFA and won the H.R. Hays Poetry Prize. His journalism has appeared in magazines and newspapers including The New York Times and The New York Post. Van Booy is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love, now translated into several languages. He lives in New York City, where he teaches part-time at the School of Visual Arts and at Long Island University. He is also involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities Program (REaCH) for young adults living in underserved communities.
Cotter, Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre, declared in the judges' citation of Van Booy's book:
"While we believe that this was the most evenly-matched short-list ever in the award's history, containing six brilliant books by accomplished authors, after much rereading and long discussions the jury was convinced by one title in particular. Unusually for a work of serious literature this book won with its consistently positive and optimistic approach to examining the travails of human experience. It is an emotionally warming book which easily wins a place in the heart of the reader. The jury was impressed by the author's consummate mastery of the technique of classic short story writing. From the opening line he grabs the reader's attention and maintains focus. His language is lyrical and sings off the page. His stories are full of the most exquisite insights, aphoristic without ever seeming like mere conveyances for ideas. It is with great pleasure that we can present this award to Simon Van Booy for his book Love Begins in Winter."
For further information contact:
Patrick Cotter
Artistic Director
The Munster Literature Centre





Shortlist for the 2009 Cork City - Frank O'Connor Short Story Award Announced

The shortlist for the 2009 Cork City - Frank O'Connor Short Story Award has been decided by an international jury. The award at 35,000 euro is the richest prize in the world for the short story form and is given annually to an original collection of stories judged to be the best. Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Miranda July, Jhumpa Lahiri and Yiyun Li. The award is organised by the Munster Literature Centre with generous funding from Cork City Council. Notable names edged out for a position on this year's shortlist include Booker winner Kazuo Ishiguro, Orange Prize winner Chimanda Ngozi Adiche, veteran short story authors Ali Smith, Mary Gaitskill and James Lasdun and reviewers' darling Sana Krasikov. The winner will be announced in Cork on September 20th at the closing ceremony of the tenth Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival which is the oldest annual short story festival in the world. 


Further information can be obtained from:

Patrick Cotter, Director,

The Munster Literature Centre,


++353 214312955 


The shortlisted books are as follows (in alphabetical order)


1. An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah published by Faber, London


Petina Gappah


Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University, and the University of Zimbabwe. Her short fiction and essays have been published in eight countries. She lives with her son Kush in Geneva, where she works as counsel in an international organisation that provides legal aid on international trade law to developing countries. Her story collection, An Elegy for Easterly is published by Faber in April 2009. She is currently completing The Book of Memory, her first novel. Both books will also be published in Finland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.



Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw published by Vintage, New Zealand

Charlotte Grimshaw

Charlotte Grimshaw is a fiction writer. Her first novel was described as ‘New Zealand noir,’ and her later books continue to draw from a range of genres and dramatic situations. Grimshaw has contributed short fiction to anthologies, was awarded the 2006 Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Award, and published her first short story collection in 2007. Titled Opportunity, this collection was short-listed for the world’s richest short fiction prize, the Cork City - Frank O’Connor Short Story Award.


Ripples and other Stories by Shih-Li Kow published by Silverfish Books, Malaysia

Shih-Li Kow

Shih-Li Kow was born in Kuala Lumpur and was educated for the most part in schools in Malaysia. Her stories have been published in the anthologies, News from Home and Silverfish New Writing 7. Shih-Li Kow holds a degree in chemical engineering and worked as an industrial engineer in a multinational consumer products company for more than ten years. She is currently in retail. She resides in Kuala Lumpur with her extended family and son, Jack. 



The Pleasant Light of Day by Philip O Ceallaigh Published by Penguin Ireland.

Philip Ó Ceallaigh

Philip O Ceallaigh has lived and worked at a variety of jobs in Ireland, Spain, Russia, the United States, Kosovo and Georgia. He has lived mostly in Bucharest since 2000 where among other things he translates English subtitles for Romanian films. He has won the Glen Dimplex Award and the Rooney Prize for his first short story collection Notes from A Turkish Whorehouse which was also shortlisted for the Cork City - Frank O’Connor Award in 2006. 



Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower  Published by FSG New York and Granta UK

Wells Tower

Wells Tower’s short stories and journalism have appeared in The New YorkerHarper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, The Washington Post Magazine, and elsewhere. He received two Pushcart Prizes and the Plimpton Prize from The Paris Review. He divides his time between Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Brooklyn, New York.




Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy published by Harper Perennial New York and Beautiful Books London.

Simon Van Booy

Simon Van Booy was born in London and grew up in rural Wales and Oxford. After playing football in Kentucky, he lived in Paris and Athens. In 2002 he was awarded an MFA and won the H.R. Hays Poetry Prize. His journalism has appeared in magazines and newspapers including The New York Times and the New York Post. Van Booy is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love, now translated into several languages. He lives in New York City, where he teaches part-time at the School of Visual Arts and at Long Island University. He is also involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities Program (REaCH) for young adults living in undeserved communities.




The 2009 Longlist

15 American Authors:

Eleanor Bluestein, Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales, BkMk Press (University of
Missouri-Kansas City)

Bonnie Jo Cambell, American Salvage,Wayne State University Press

Dennis Cooper, Ugly Man: Stories, Harper Perennial

David Eagleman, Sum, Pantheon Books (Random House)

Mary Gaitskill, Don’t Cry, Pantheon Books (Random House)

Lauren Groff, Delicate Edible Bird, Hyperion

Daniel A. Hoyt, Then We Saw The Flames, University of Massachusetts Press

Ian MacMillan, Our People, BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City)

James Mathews, Last Known Position, University of North Texas Press

Christopher Meeks, Months and Season, White Whisker Books

Lydia Peelle, Reasons for and Advantage of Breathing, Harper Perennial

Andrew Porter, The Theory of Light and Matter, University of Georgia Press

Glen Pourciau, Invite, University of Iowa Press

Midge Raymond, Forgetting English, Eastern Washington University Press

Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

17 British Authors:

Anthony Cropper, Nature’s Magician, Route

Jane Feaver, Love Me Tender, Harvill Secker (The Random House Group)

Paul Flynn, Crossing the Border, CC Publishing

Tania Hershman, The White Road, Salt Publishing

Sue Hubbard, Rothko’s Red, Salt Publishing

Kazuo Ishiguro, Nocturnes, Faber and Faber Limited

Alex Keegan, Ballistics, Salt Publishing

Charles Lambert, The Scent of Cinnamon, Salt Publishing

James Lasdun, It’s Beginning to Hurt, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Tom Lee, Greenfly, Harvill Secker (The Random House Group)

Frederick Lightfoot, Fetish and Other Stories, Superscript

André Mangeot, A Little Javanese, Salt Publishing

Sean O’Brien, The Silence Room, Comma Press

John Saul, As Rivers Flow, Salt Publishing

Ali Smith, The First Person, Penguin Group Canada

Mark Illis, Tender, Salt Publishing

Simon Van Booy, Love Begins in Winter, Harper Perennial

4 Canadian Authors:

Tricia Dower, Silent Girl, Innana Publications and Education Inc.

Hannah Holborn, Fierce, McClelland & Stewart

Pamela Stewart, Elysium, Anvil Press

Deborah Willis, Vanishing and Other Stories, Penguin Group Canada

1 Dutch Author:

Arnon Grunberg, Amuse-Bouche, Comma Press

1 Estonian Author:

Kristiina Ehin, A Priceless Nest, Oleander Press

1 German Author:

Maike Wetzel (Trans. Lyn Marven), Long Days, Comma Press

1 Icelandic Author:

Gyrơir Elíasson (Trans. Victoria Cribb), Stone Tree, Comma Press

3 Indian Authors:

Jahnavi Barua, Next Door, Penguin Books ( India )

Jasmine Anita Yvette D’Costa, Curry is Thicker Than Water, BookLand Press

Kuzhali Manickavel, Insects Are Just Like You and Me Except Some of Them Have Wings, Blaft Publications

4 Irish Authors:

Michael J. Farrell, Life in the Universe, The Stinging Fly Press

Robert Graham, The Only Living Boy, Salt Publishing

Alan McMonagle, Liar, Liar, Words on the Street

Philip Ó Ceallaigh, The Pleasant Light of Day, Penguin Ireland

1 Macedonian Author:

Kiril Bozhinov, Eclipses: Stories of Disappearances and Reappearance, Beyond Art Productions

1 Malaysian Author:

Shih-Li-Kow, Ripples and Other Short Stories, Silverfish Books

1 Nepali Author:

Sushma Joshi, The End of the World, FinePrint Books

2 New Zealand Authors:

Jeanette Galpin, Aroha and the River, Maungatiro Press of Marton

Charlotte Grimshaw Singularity Vintage

2 Nigerian Authors:

Sefi Atta, Lawless, Farafina Books

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Thing Around Your Neck, Fourth Estate LTD

1 Spanish Author:

Empar Moliner (Trans. Peter Bush), I Love You When I’m Drunk, Comma Press

1 Ukrainian Author:

Sana Krasikov, One More Year, Portobello Books Ltd

1 Zimbabwean Author

Petina Gappah, An Elegy for Easterly, Faber and Faber Limited



This year's judges are:

Lloren A. Foster, Ph. D. an Assistant Professor of English at Hampton University. He has a BA in English from Chicago State University (1998) and a Ph.D. in Afro-American Studies, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2007). He fashions himself a Literary Historian and Cultural Critic whose research interests are focused on storytelling and narrative in the Short Story of the African Diaspora.

Milka Jankowska: for three years she has been co-ordinating the International Short Story Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. She has also been working in the Wroclaw Book Fair Bureau, organising the international book fair under the auspices of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and Polish Publishers Association. M.J. is also a translator (English-Polish) for various publishing houses (14 translations of British, American and Australian authors, literary and commercial fiction – novels, stories etc.).

Vincent McDonnell is an award-winning author of books for adults and young readers. Born in County Mayo, he worked in England for a number of years. He now lives in County Cork with his wife and son.
He has previously written two adult novels and four novels for children. The Broken Commandment, his first novel for adults, was published after a recommendation by Graham Greene and won the GPA First Fiction Award in 1989. Vincent won the 2003 Francis McManus Short Story competition for his story entitled "Lemon Creams".






For information on past winners and the Frank O'Connor Festival, please visit the festival pages found on the drop down menu.





2010 Sean Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competiton

now open!


Further Information

FOC 2008

Festival In the News

In the Irish Times

In the Guardian

Shortlist in the Guardian (United Kingdom)

2008 FOC Winner: Lahiri Links

Interview inThe Atlantic (US periodical)

New York Times review

The Arts Show RTE1 Irish national radio

18 minute radio broadcast on US NPR

FOC Brochure


Irish Times ad


eigse 2009

The Munster Literature Centre

Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork, Ireland.

Tel. (353) 021 4312955, Email: munsterlit(AT)eircom(DOT)net

Irish Registered Charity No.12374