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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





Fool for Poetry

International Chapbook

Competition 2017

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



About the Competition * Purchase Winning Titles * Previous Winners



Announcing the winners of the 2017
Fool For Poetry Chapbook competition.


1st Prize:

Not in Heaven by Molly Minturn (Charlottesville, USA)

Molly Minturn

Molly Minturn lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, the Iowa Review, Sycamore Review, Bennington Review, the Toast, Indiana Review, Longreads, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Virginia. This is her first book.


2nd Prize

Bog Arabic by Bernadette McCarthy (Cork, Ireland)

Bernadette McCarthy

Bernadette McCarthy lives in Kilmichael near Macroom and has a PhD in early medieval archaeology from UCC.  Her poems have been published in journals including The Penny Dreadful, Agenda, Causeway, Crannóg, The Lake, and The Linnet’s Wings, and also in the Irish Examiner and the anthology On the Banks (ed. A. Hopkins, Collins Press 2016). She was highly commended in the 2015 Ó Bhéal Five Words Competition.


Both poets will receive a cash prize, chapbook publication, 50 copies of their chapbooks and an invitation to read at the 2018 Cork International Poetry Festival. Of the first place chapbook, judge Thomas McCarthy says:


"“NOT IN HEAVEN  is writing of really high quality, both in the construction and in the thinking. The thought is very sophisticated here. A poem like ‘Amor Fati’ is brilliantly created with lines like ‘I can play Beethoven loud as I want/ mournful Beethoven to dead trees,// I like the way/ his music goes back on its word.’ This is typical of the level of insight, of reflection and refraction, in many of the poems here. A lyric like ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ is superb, ironic and echoing, as is ‘The Natural Order’ and ‘The Copper Age.’”




Congratulations to the 2017 finalists!


“Translation Class” - Tista Austin , UK 
“Instructions to Women” - Sarah Bence, USA 
“Lucky Scars” - Partridge Boswell, USA 
“Sweet Home Bewilderness” - Partridge Boswell, USA 
“Sewers of Love” - Donald Levering USA
“Bog Arabic” - Bernadette McCarthy, Ireland
“Not In Heaven” - Molly Minturn, USA 
“Mother Creature” - Audrey Molloy, Australia
“There Are Monsters In This House” - James O'Leary, Ireland 
“An Irish Lesson” - Clifton Redmond, Ireland




Announcing the longlisted chapbooks

in the 2017 Fool For Poetry Competition

(listed alphabetically by author surname)


Words are Words are Words by Tess Adams (Leigh, UK)
Grief Glass
by Julie Ascarruz (Lafayette, USA)
Translation Class
by Tista Austin (Cambridgeshire, UK)
Full and Hollow
by Erin Bedford (Toronto, Canada)
Instructions to Women
by Sarah Bence (Okemos, USA)
Lucky Scars
by Patridge Boswell (Woodstock, USA)
Sweet Home Bewilderness
by Patridge Boswell (Woodstock, USA)
Taller Than Physics
by Toby Buckley (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
The Art of Disappearing
by Angela Carr (Dublin, Ireland)
Shark to the Coral Fishers
by Tom Cleary (Yorkshire, UK)
I Can't Stop Being Impressed
by Conor Cleary (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
Nothing Matters
by Kevin Conroy (Naas, Ireland)
Cemetery Songs
by Brendan Cooney (Norwich, UK)
by Jerm Curtain (Badajoz, Spain)
Blood Horses
by Moyra Donaldson (Newtownards, Northern Ireland)
by Lucy Duggan (Pritzwalk, Germany)
Seven Sugar Cubes
by Clodagh Beresford Dunne (Dungarvan, Ireland)
Inside Rattling
by Alison Hill (Leek, UK)
Haunted House
by Alice Hiller (London, UK)
Blossom End, Stem End
by Dominic James (Chalford, UK)
Cavalries of Love
by Sean Kelly (Cork, Ireland)
Accuracy of the Bar Coded, Prolonged etc.
by Daniel Kuriakose (USA)
A Dovetail of Breath
by Fiona Larkin (Kingston upon Thames, UK)
Who Chafes to Change the Azimuth
by Charles Leggett (Seattle, USA)
Praise to the Sewers of Lvov
by Donald Levering (Santa Fe, USA)
We're All Going
by Thomas Lloyd-Evans (Berkhamsted, UK)
Mutual Life
by Scott Lowery (Minnesota, USA)
Throwing Shapes
by Emer Lyons (Dunedin, New Zealand)
For Waltz
by Agnes Marton (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg)
The Sea Beats in You
by Martin McCarthy (Cork, Ireland)
Chains Made of Fire
by David McAllister (Huntsville, USA)
Bog Arabic
by Bernadette McCarthy (Macroom, Ireland)
by Paul McMahon (Kinsale, Ireland)
A Quire of Stones
by Winifred McNulty (Mountcharles, Ireland)
Not in Heaven
by Molly Minturn (Charlottesville, USA)
Mother Creature
by Audrey Molloy (Cremorne, Australia)
by Cian Murphy (London, UK)
On London Bridge
by Judy O'Kane (London, UK)
There Are Monsters In This House
by James O'Leary (Cork, Ireland)
Through Windows
by Susan Purr (North Carolina, USA)
An Irish Lesson
by Clifton Redmond (Carlow, Ireland)
Treading Water
by Emily Grace Rowe (Simpsonville, USA)
Hether Blether
by Julie-Ann Rowell (Totnes, UK)
Earthing Up
by Michael Laurence Rynne (Perth, Australia)
Self Portrait with Housewife
by Jennifer Saunders (Hindelbank, Switzerland)
Histories of a Colonial Garden
by Mara Adamitz Scrupe (Philadelphia, USA)
The Thing You Learn
by Michael Sheehan (Glanmire, Ireland)
by Emma Staughton (Cornwall, UK)
Let her Rip, Daughter!
by Frances Corkey Thompson (Ilfracombe, UK)
The Uncertainty Principle
by Pam Thompson (UK)
by David Van-Cauter (Hitchin, UK)
Lower Lip
by Roderic Vincent (Ludlow, UK)
The Brass Bed
by Annette Volfing (Oxford, UK)
The Walled Garden
by Anthony Watts (Taunton, UK)
Calendar on Fire
by Nerys Williams (Kells, Ireland)


About the 2017 Competition




1st Prize: €1,000; 2nd Prize :€500
+chapbook publication with 50 free copies

Winning poets offered a reading and three nights' accommodation
at Cork 2018 International Poetry Festival (www.corkpoetryfest.net)

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

Manuscripts must be 16 to 23 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 2018 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 slot and three nights' accommodation at the Cork International Poetry Festival 2018. An entrance fee of €25 will be charged for each manuscript. Entrants may enter more than one manuscript. The winners will be selected by a panel consisting of renowned poets Mary Noonan, Matthew Sweeney, Thomas McCarthy, James Harpur and Leanne O’Sullivan. The winning pamphlet will be published by  Southword Editions in February 2018 and launched at the Cork International Poetry Festival.

The winning authors will each receive 50 complimentary copies. The first prize winner will receive €1000. The second prize winner will receive €500. One of these winners will be the highest scoring manuscript entered by a debutant poet with no solo collection (full-length or chapbook) previously published. If the winners make their own way to the festival, the Munster Literature Centre will cover the costs of two nights’ hotel accommodation.



All Fool for Poetry winning chapbooks can be purchased
here at our online bookstore.

Learn more about past winners and highly commended poets
from the Fool for Poetry Competitions here!




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.









Words Ireland

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




The Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Gregory O Donoghue

Deadline: 30 November




Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

30 November 2017

Marie Helene Bertino
2017 Fellow:
Marie-Helene Bertino




Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in spring.




Fool for Poetry


Molly Minturn &
Bernadette McCarthy !


Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story
Competition 2017

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Louise Nealon!




Southword Editions

on sale in
our bookstore


including Fool For Poetry
winners, the New Irish
Voices series & more






Read all the latest issues
of Southword journal
online here


Poetry International

Recent additions:

Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin
Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn
Brendan Cleary
Eleanor Hooker

& more





The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in September







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