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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







Edna O'Brien wins the 2011 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award



Click below to visit the new dedicated website for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Visit regularly to keep up with all the latest news.






Edna O'Brien wins the 2011 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Award.

The 2011 Frank O'Connor Award Page

The 2010 Frank O'Connor Award Page

The 2009 Frank O'Connor Award Page








Edna O'Brien wins the 2011 Frank O'Connor Short Story AwardSaints & Sinners by Edna O'Brien


Edna O'Brien's short story collection Saints and Sinners has won the 2011 Cork City - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The final decision was made after much deliberation by the judges Thomas McCarthy (Cork-based poet), Alannah Hopkin (Cork-based writer) and Guardian journalist Chris Power (UK). The shortlist had a majority of women including Irish grandee Edna O’Brien and inaugural winner (2005) of the award Yiyun Li for her second collection. There were two young debutantes, Canadian Alexander MacLeod and American Suzanne Rivecca. American novelist Valerie Trueblood is shortlisted with her first short story collection and the shortlist is completed by the Irish literary heavyweight Colm Tóibín.

It was the first year two Irish authors had been shortlisted for this, the world’s largest and most prestigious award for the Short Story. Established in 2005 the €35,000 award is in the gift of the Munster Literature Centre and funded by Cork City Council. It was awarded for what was judged to be the best original short story collection published in English between July 1st 2010 and June 30th 2011. Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Jhumpa Lahiri and Simon Van Booy.

O’Brien received a standing ovation as she accepted the award. “This is lovely, wonderful,” she said. “When Maureen Stapleton won an Academy Award, she said she’d like to thank everyone she’d ever met. I should probably limit that to Munster… I’d like to thank this wonderful festival for doing so much to stimulate the dying flower called literature.”






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








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