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







(From 1 September to 15 December 2015



The Munster Literature Centre is a not-for-profit organisation; all moneys raised from the competition benefits writers and writing.


2015 Winners

These poems will be published in a future issue of Southword Journal.


1st Prize: 'Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare's Eye'

Breda Wall Ryan

by Breda Wall-Ryan of Co. Wicklow, Ireland


2nd Prize: 'Love Meter'

Caitlin Pryor

by Caitlin Pryor of Texas, USA


3rd Prize: 'Radio Clash'

Jane Satterfield

by Jane Satterfield of Maryland, USA



Shortlisted poems 2015

alphabetically by poet

These poems will be published in a future issue of Southword Journal.


Devreaux Baker, California USA
'Conquistador Fragments'

Michael Fleming, Vermont USA
'The Merry Dancers'

Rachel Galvin, Illinois USA
'Arab Spring'

Simon Jackson, Derbyshire UK
'A Whoop of Gorillas'

Stefanie M. Lipsey, New York USA
'Ghazal for Streets Named Mawar'

Jim Maguire, Wexford Ireland
'After the Guests Have Gone'

Michael Lee Phillips, California USA

Karen Skolfield, Massachusetts USA
'Quake Kills Hundreds, Creates Island Off Coast'

Theresa D. Smith, California USA
'You Died Among Oranges'

Anthony Watts, Somerset UK
'A Proper Fire'



Highly commended poems 2015

alphabetically by poet


Eric Berlin
' Amen'

Wes Civilz, Tucson, USA
'Bags of Words'

Marie Coveney, Co Cork, Ireland
'The Bay'

Usha Kishore, Isle of Man
'The Jabberwock Replies'

Alison Luterman, California, USA
' Paying the Rent'

Rob Miles, Leeds UK
' Small Devices'

Geraldine Mitchell, Co Mayo, Ireland
'Miel Bruyére'

Marie Naughton, Manchester UK
My First Husband

Susan Azar Porterfield, USA
' The Sound Of'

Ruth Smith, Kent, UK
' Colour Plate from The Practical Home Doctor'

Gráinne Tobin, Co Down, Northern Ireland
'Zorbing in the Basement Brasserie'

Chloe Wilson, Victoria, Australia
'Miss Havisham, Bachelorette'







More About the Prize

The Judge

Previous Winners

Southword Journal


More About the Prize


1st Prize €1000, a week's residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, 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.


*(First prize roughly equivalent to $1326.70 USD/ £799.94 GBP @ xe.com on 21st August 2014. Payments will be subject to exchange rates valid on date payment is issued. The MLC will subvent travel costs for the winner up to €600 and provide hotel accommodation and meals for three days during the Cork Spring Poetry Festival.) 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.


The Munster Literature Centre holds an annual competition for an international poetry prize for a 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 (approx $1326.70 USD/ £799.94 GBP @ xe.com on 21st August 2014), a week's residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and publication in Southword Literary Journal. The MLC will subvent travel costs for the winner up to €600 and provide hotel accommodation and meals for three days during the Cork Spring Poetry 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 winners will be notified by late 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. A shortlist will be posted on our website in late January and the winners will be announced during the Cork Spring Poetry Festival. We recommend signing up for the Munster Literature Centre newsletter if you would like to be kept up-to-date with all competition developments directly.

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We would kindly request that entrants refrain from emailing to check the status of their poems. Withdrawn poems will not be eligible for refunds.

The 2015 Judge: Matthew Sweeney



Matthew Sweeney



Born in Donegal in 1952, Matthew Sweeney is based in Cork currently, having previously been resident in Berlin, Timişoara and, for a long time, London. His latest poetry collections are Horse Music (2013), The Night Post (2010), and Black Moon (2007). Several books prior to that include Sanctuary (2004) and Selected Poems (2002). Bilingual collections of Sweeney’s work came out in Germany and Holland in 2008. Earlier translations appeared in Mexico, Romania, Latvia and Slovakia. Death Comes for the Poets, a collaborative novel written with John Hartley Williams, was published in 2013. Two pamphlets are appearing in 2014 – The Gomera Notebook (Shoestring) and Twentyone Men and a Ghost (The Poetry Business) – and Bloodaxe will publish a new collection, Inquisition Lane, in 2015.


It is planned to have a rotating judge each year. Past judges have included Thomas McCarthy, James Harpur, Leanne O'Sullivan and Patrick Cotter. The judge will read each and every entry themselves; in many other competitions entries are screened and longlisted by preliminary readers, not so for the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize.

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Past winners of the Gregory O'Donoghue
International Poetry Competition


Breda Wall Ryan
Maya Popa
Judith Barrington
2015 winner:
Breda Wall Ryan
2014 winner:
Maya Popa
2013 winner:
Judith Barrington
Suji Kwock Kim
Sandra Ann Winters
John F Deane
2012 winner:
Suji Kwock Kim
2011 winner:
Sandra Ann Winters
2010 winner:
John F. Deane


Click here to view results of past competitions, including runners-up and commendations.








Words Ireland

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


The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

23 - 26 September




Frank O'Connor
Short Story Award

2015 Laureate:
Carys Davies

Carys Davies

World's richest prize for
a short story collection,
co-sponsored by the
UCC School of English
Cork City Council

Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Now closed!
Thank you to
everyone who




Southword Issue 28

Southword Journal

New issue, free to read online.




Southword Publications

Victoria Kennefick

Newest books:

Fool For Poetry
chapbooks by
Victoria Kennefik
& Virginia Astley



Poetry International

Recent additions:

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






O'Donoghue Poetry

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Winners now
published in
issue 27A.




Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

in spring.




Fool for Poetry


Now closed.
Thanks to those
who entered!





Writing Workshops
at the MLC





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