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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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Literature Centre
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Munster Literature Centre









Gregory O'Donoghue


The Winners


First Prize: John F. Deane


John F Deane


Second Prize: Siobhan Campbell

'Clew Bay from the Reek'


Siobhan Campbell


Third Prize: Patrick Deeley


Patrick Deeley


Commended Poets


Listed alphabetically:

Lauren K. Alleyne– New York, USA

Maureen Gallagher– Galway, Ireland

John Gerard– Cork, Ireland

Catherine Phil MacCarthy– Dublin, Ireland

Patrick Maddock– New Ross, Ireland

Pete Mullineaux– Galway, Ireland

Cristina Newton– Swindon, UK

Mary Anne Perkins– Richmond, UK

Jane Robinson– Enniskerry, Ireland

Cherry Smyth– London, UK


The result was announced at the Spring Literary Festival on Wednesday, 17 February at 7.30PM in the Metropole Hotel. A video of John F. Deane's reading will be posted in the next issue of Southword Journal Online.




A sincere thank you to everyone who entered!


The winners will be notified in mid-January. Due to the large volume of entries, the judge will not be able to notify the authors of non-winning poems or give individual feedback. Amonst other prizes, the winners will be published in the next issue of Southword Journal Online.




1st Prize €1000, publication in Southword

and a trip to Cork Ireland.

2nd Prize €500 publication in Southword

3rd Prize €250 publication in Southword

Ten runners-up to be published in Southword and receive €30 publication fee.


Deadline Tuesday December 15th


The Munster Literature Centre is a not-for-profit institution, an officially registered charity in the Republic of Ireland Charity. No. 12374. All entry fees received in this competition will be disbursed in prize money, judge's fee and to fund services the Centre provides to writers and readers.


More About the Prize

The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce a new international poetry prize for single poem, named in honour of a late Irish poet long associated with the Centre. The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize will have a first prize of €1,000 (on 1 October 2009 approx. US$1400 or UK£900) and publication in Southword Literary Journal. The winner will have the opportunity to travel to Cork, Ireland in February 2010 to receive their winnings and read their poem at the opening of the Cork Spring Literature Festival. The MLC will subvent travel costs for the winner up to €600 and provide hotel accommodation and meals for three days during the festival. There will be a second prize of €500, third prize of €250, and ten runners-up will each have their poems published in Southword and receive Southword’s standard fee of €30.


The Judge

It is planned to have a rotating judge each year. In 2009, its inaugural year, sole judge will be James Harpur who will read each and every entry himself; in many other competitions entries are screened and longlisted by preliminary readers, not so for the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize.

James Harpur has himself won the British National Poetry Competition (organised by the Poetry Society) among many other prizes such as the Eric Gregory Award, the Hawthornden Prize and the Michael Hartnett Award. He has published six collections of poetry and been included in many anthologies. He is current poetry editor for Southword Literary Journal.


Fees and Deadlines

There will be an entry fee of €5 per poem or €20 per batch of five. (Postal entries can be paid for in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling. No cash, please.) Closing date for entries is December 15th 2009. A result will be reached by Friday January 15th, with the result published on our website the following Tuesday January 19th. Please refer to the submission guidelines below for details on how to enter.



1. The competition is open to original, unpublished poems in the English language of 40 lines or less. The poem can be on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.

2. Entries should be typed. The entrant's name and contact details must be on a separate piece of paper. Manuscripts cannot be returned. Your name should not appear on the same page as the poem to ensure anonymity.

3. There will be an entry fee of €5 per poem or €20 per batch of five. For postal entries you may pay UK£5 or US$8 per poem, or UK£20 or US$32 per batch of five. You may submit as many entries as you wish. Cheques and money orders must be made payable to THE MUNSTER LITERATURE CENTRE. VERY IMPORTANT: We DO NOT accept US Postal Orders as they cannot be redeemed outside of the United States. No entry form is necessary. N.b. American entrants: please date cheques by writing out the month as a word. For example: November 4 2009. If any information is crossed out or altered, our bank returns the cheque to us as unusable. In such cases we would have to request a new cheque from the entrant, delaying the processing of their work.

4. Closing date is 15th December 2009. Please note that the post office is very busy this close to Christmas and it might be better to enter online after December 1st. Entries must be sent to The Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition, The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork, Ireland (no postal/zip code).

5. A result will be reached by Friday January 15th, with the result published on our website the following Tuesday January 19th.

6. If you require acknowledgement of your entry, you must submit a self-addressed stamped postcard. SASEs for international entries should include money for IRISH stamps. Please do not include SASEs with foreign stamps.

7. The Judge's decision is final. Due to the large volume of entries anticipated, the judge will not be able to give feedback on an individual basis.

8. It would greatly assist us if you let us know how you heard of the competition (whether through mailshot, word of mouth, advertisements, newspaper, website, etc.) with your entry.


Email entries should be submitted as follows:

1. Send your entry as a word document (files ending with ".doc"). Please note that we cannot open the most recent version of Word documents, which usually end in '.docx'. Please ensure you save the poem in a compatible format, usually labeled 'Word 97 - 2003 Document'.
2. Include the poem/poems and cover letter as separate documents in the same email.
3. Pay your entry fee through Paypal (see link below). Paypal accepts Mastercard and Visa and guarantees secure transactions.
4. In the body of the email, list your name, address, poem titles and Paypal receipt number.
5. Use the subject header "O'Donoghue 2009 Entry".
6. Email submissions to competitions(AT)munsterlit(DOT)ie or by clicking here.


N.b. The cost of an online entry is fixed in Euro and the conversion into your local currency will be done automatically by your credit card company according to the current exchange rate.







Words Ireland

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


New from Southword Editions!
New chapbooks by
John Fitzgerald
and Aidan Mathews

Available here

2017 Fool for Poetry
winning chapbooks
by John Mee
and Maya Catherine Popa

Available here


New Irish Voices
poetry chapbooks
by Roisin Kelly
and Paul McMahon

Available here




Read all the latest issues
of Southword journal
online here



Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

2017 Fellow:
Marie-Helene Bertino




Fool for Poetry


Now accepting


Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story
Competition 2017

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Now accepting




Southword Editions

Tania Hershman

Newest books:

Fool For Poetry
chapbooks by
Tania Hershman
& Victor Tapner



Poetry International

Recent additions:

Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin
Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn
Brendan Cleary
Eleanor Hooker

& more




Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in spring.




The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in September




Southword Issue 30

Southword Journal

New issue, free to read online.


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