MLC books

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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Literature Centre
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Munster Literature Centre





The Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition 2016

(Runs annually from mid-January to end of May)

Some people are fools for love, others are fools for poetry


Victor TapnerTania Hershman

2016 winners Victor Tapner & Tania Hershman
Chapbooks available to purchase at our online bookstore.


1st & 2nd prize winners will each have their manuscript published, and will receive 50 complimentary copies of their chapbooks.

1st prize to receive €1000 & 2nd prize to receive €500.

The competition is open to new, emerging and established poets from any country BUT at least one of the winners will be a debutante (with no chapbook or book published previously). Up to 25 - 50 other entrants will be publicly listed as "highly commended".

Manuscripts must be sixteen to twenty-four pages in length, in the English language and the sole work of the entrant with no pastiches, translations or 'versions'. The poems can be in verse or prose. Each chapbook is guaranteed a review in Southword Journal.

The winning chapbooks will be published in February 2017 with ISBNs, barcodes and will be offered for sale internationally through our own website, Amazon, and selected independent book sellers. The winning poets will be offered a reading and given three nights' accommodation at the 2017 Cork Spring Poetry Festival. An entrance fee of €25 will be charged for each manuscript. Entrants may enter more than one manuscript. For full details consult www.munsterlit.ie in December. The winners will be selected by a panel chosen by the management board of Southword Editions.

Deadline: 31 May 2016.

Shortlist announced in July. Winners announced in September. Sign up for email newsletter
to receive results directly in your inbox!



Competition Details

Submission Guidelines

Past winners of Fool For Poetry

About the Fool For Poetry Competition


Competition Details

€1,500 Cash (approx £1174, $1695) in prizes
Two Winners: 1st prize receives €1000 in cash & 2nd prize receives €500 in cash. Winners also receive 50 complimentary copies of their chapbook.
Up to 25 -50 entrants publicly listed as “finalists or highly-commended”

Winning chapbooks published February 2017 will be offered for sale internationally, through our website, Amazon and select independent booksellers.

Winning poets will be offered a reading and three nights' accommodation at the 2017 Cork Spring Poetry Festival. Poets of any publishing history may enter but at least one winner will be a debutant with no books/chapbooks previously published.

There will be an entry fee of €25 for each manuscript.  The Munster Literature Centre is a registered charity (no.12374) and a non-profit organisation. Monies received will cover costs of contest. Any profits generated will be spent on fees for writers and poets participating in our festivals or contributing to our other publications.

Submission Guidelines

1. Submissions must be unpublished as a collection, but individual poems may have been previously published in journals. We will consider simultaneous submissions as long as the poet notifies us immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

2.  Submit 16-24 pages of poetry, single-spaced  One page equals 38 lines maximum, including spacing between lines.  Poems may run longer than 1 page.

3.  Do not count title page, acknowledgments, table of contents or dedicationin the page count. Manuscripts either too short or too long will be disqualified.

4.  Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the winning manuscripts have been chosen.

5 Indicate in your cover letter whether you are a debutant or have published a chapbook or book previously. Poets worldwide (including Eire & UK) may email their manuscript as a .doc, .docx or pdf attachment to foolforpoetry@munsterlit.ie  include with your cover email name, contact information including phone number and paypal receipt number.

Pay by Paypal (non-Euro currencies will be converted)

# of Manuscripts

6. While online submissions are preferred, writers in Ireland & the UK have the alternative option of sending a hard-copy submission by post to: The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork. Payment for postal submissions should include a cheque/draft for €25 or £25. Only Irish entrants may pay by postal order.

6. Deadline for entries is 31 May, 2016


A brief history of Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition


The Munster Literature Centre established the Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition in 2005. The competition offered writers the opportunity to have their poems published in a high quality production from the Munster Literature Centre's publishing branch, Southword Editions. The winner also received a cash prize and travel expenses to Ireland for the book launch. Although the competition was not continued from 2010, it was reintroduced in 2014.




Browse more chapbooks by previous winners

Fool For Poetry bookstore

of the Fool For Poetry Competition
in our online bookshop.










Words Ireland

The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland.




Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Now open!




The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

6 - 10 September




Southword Issue 29

Southword Journal

New issue, free to read online.




Writing Workshops
at the MLC


Short story
festival workshops
coming soon.



Southword Editions

Tania Hershman

Newest books:

Fool For Poetry
chapbooks by
Tania Hershman
& Victor Tapner



Poetry International

Recent additions:

Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn,
Brendan Cleary,
Eleanor Hooker
& more





Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

2016 Fellow:
Zsuzsi Gartner

Zsuzsi Gartner
Applications now
being accepted for
2017 residency.



Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in spring.




O'Donoghue Poetry

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

2015 winners




Fool for Poetry


Annually in spring.




The Munster Literature Centre

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

Tel. (353) 021 4312955 Email munsterlit@eircom.net

Irish Registered Charity No.12374