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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










Winners of the 2018 Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition

First Place: Assembly Instructions by Katie Hale

Second Place: other gods by Regina Melveny

These chapbooks will be launched in March 2019 at the Cork International Poetry Festival. Find out more about these poets and read our list of commended poets here


Announcing the 2019 John Montague International Poetry Fellow:

Sandra Beasley


The American poet, Sandra Beasley, has been appointed 2019 John Montague International Poetry Fellow. The fellowship is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre and funded by University College Cork. It's named to honour the great Irish poet John Montague who lived in Cork and taught at UCC for many years. Ms Beasley will reside in Cork for three months, where she will have the opportunity to concentrate on her own writing as well as contribute in numerous ways to the literary life of the city. She will read and present workshops at the Cork International Poetry Festival, mentor two up and coming Cork poets and teach at the Creative Writing Department of the School of English, at University College Cork.

Find out more about Sandra Beasley, the fellowship and bursaries here

Applications now open for
The 2019 John Montague Bursaries

These bursaries provide the opportunity for two Cork poets to be mentored by Ms. Beasley between February and April of 2019. Each poet will benefit from a weekly two-hour contact session with Ms Beasley over eight weeks.

Details of how to apply through Submittable here




Autumn Fiction Workshop

Running over four consecutive Tuesdays November 6th - 27th

Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: The Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork
Class size: Maximum of twelve
Cost: €120 or €100 (concession to unwaged)
Course Leader: Alannah Hopkin




Competition Deadlines!

Submit 10,000 -15,000 words which can consist of a novella, a long short story, several short stories, a collection of flash fiction, or a mix of stories and flash. 
--Deadline October 31st 2018

Click here for full submission guidelines and prize information!

Follow the competition's Facebook page



Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

Submit original, unpublished poems in the English language of 40 lines maximum. The poem can be on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.
--Deadline November 30th 2018

Click here for full submission guidelines and prize information!

Follow the competition's Facebook page




Culture Night events

from the Munster Literature Centre

Friday 21st September

John Fitzgerald, Roisin Kelly, Bernadette McCarthy, Paul McMahon, John Mee, Gerry Murphy and James O’Leary are poets living and working in Cork. They will share serious poems, humorous poems, poems about love, politics, grief and much more, from short collections they have published in recent years.

The seven poets will perform for free at three locations, at Nano Nagle Place on Douglas Street, at the corner of Barrack Street and Kevin Street and on Nano Nagle Bridge at Grand Parade.


5.00pm Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street

James O'Leary and Bernadette McCarthy


6.00pm Corner of Barrack Street & Kevin Street

John Mee and Paul McMahon


7.00pm Nano Nagle Bridge, Grand Parade

John Fitzgerald, Roisin Kelly and Gerry Murphy




Announcing the winner of the 2018 Sean O'Faolain International Short Story Competition!

Visit corkshortstory.net/awards for news of the 1st Place Winner, Second Place Winner, and four runners up




12 - 15 September

Cork International Short Story Festival website now live - view our full programme of events here to book tickets and register for workshops





Southword – New International Writing

Issue 35 available now!

To mark its return as an exclusively print publication you can now subscribe and get Southword delivered direct to your door - click here for details




Seán O'Faoláin International Short Story Competition - entries closing July 31st

Word limit: 3,000 words
Closing date: Tuesday the 31st of July (midnight)
Entry fee: €15 per story

We're on the countdown to the Seán O'Faoláin compeition deadline. You have until the end of the month to send us your story, the one you need the world to see - on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. Find further information and guidelines here.


Watch Louise Nealon reading her winning story from last year's competition at the 2017 Cork International Short Story Festival.



Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries

Two Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries which consist of fees-free mentoring by the Frank O’Connor International Fellow. Eligible applicants must be resident in Cork (city or county) and contributing to the literary life of the city. Applications for the Mentorship Bursaries are open until June 30th 2018.

More information here

Apply here





Free readings Saturday June 23rd 3pm & 4.30pm

Join us on St. John’s Eve as we usher in Bonna Night with tales, verse, and song from Thomas McCarthy, Danielle McLaughlin, Gerry Murphy, Billy O’Callaghan, and John Spillane. Readings will take place at Elizabeth Fort at 3pm and at 4.30pm. This event is aimed at adults and children alike!

Click here to see the Facebook event page





Innagural Southword Fiction Chapbook Competition

Two winners, Best Irish Entry and Best International Entry, will recieve a chapbook publication (made available internationally through Amazon), 20 complimentary copies of their chapbook, and advances of 250 euro each.

We are looking for 10,000 -15,000 words which can consist of a novella, a long short story, several short stories, a collection of flash fiction, or a mix of stories and flash. Deadline October 31st 2018.

Click here for full submission guidelines

Follow the competition's Facebook page




Announcing 2018 Poetry & Fiction Workshops


The Art of Poetry: Summer Poetry Workshop Series

Running over five consecutive Saturdays June 30th - July 28th

Time: 11am to 1pm
Venue: The Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork
Class size: Maximum of ten
Cost: €120 or €100 (concession to unwaged)
Course Leader: Patrick Cotter


Summer Fiction Workshop

Running over four consecutive Saturdays August 4th - 25th

Time: 11am to 1pm
Venue: The Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork
Class size: Maximum of ten
Cost: €120 or €100 (concession to unwaged)
Course Leader: Billy O'Callaghan



The latest titles in Southword Editions' New Irish Voices chapbook series
First Cut by John Fitzgerald
Sound Effects in a Studio by Aidan Mathews

Available here from our online bookstore!




Now open for submissions!

The Fool for Poetry
International Chapbook Competition 2018

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

Closing date for submissions is June 30, 2017

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)

Details on how to enter here



Now accepting submissions
until July 31, 2017


Evelyn Walsh

John Boilard, Seán Ó Faoláin Competition winnerPhotoPG O'Connor, winner of the Seán Ó Faoláin competition


First Prize: €2,000

(approx $2308/£1583 in May 2016), publication in the literary journal Southword, AND a week-long residency at Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat

Second Prize: €500 and publication in Southword

Four more shortlisted entries will be selected for publication
in Southword and receive a publication fee of €120

Details on how to enter here




the 2017 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Fellow

Marie-Helene Bertino


The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce that Marie-Helene Bertino has been selected as the 2017 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow.  Bertino will take up residency in Cork City for three months from September. She will present a reading and a four day masterclass workshop at the Cork International Short Story Festival, will mentor two, emerging, Cork-based writers, teach at the Creative Writing Department in University College Cork and get involved in the literary milieu of the city. The fellowship is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre and is funded by Cork City Council.

Marie-Helene Bertino’s debut novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT'S PAJAMAS was a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick and a Best Book of 2014 from NPR, Buzzfeed, and many others. It is currently available in the UK, Turkey, Sweden, France, and Brazil. Her collection of short stories SAFE AS HOUSES was the recipient of The Iowa Short Fiction Award (judged by Jim Shepard), named an Outstanding Collection by The Story Prize and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize.

Awards include the O. Henry Prize, a Pushcart Prize and two Pushcart special mentions, Mississippi Review's Story Prize, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook Writers Colony, and NYC’s The Center for Fiction. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, Guernica, American Short Fiction, Gigantic, Gunzo (Japan), Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, and many others. She has been featured on Symphony Space NYC’s “Selected Shorts” radio program and lives in Brooklyn, where she was the Associate Editor for One Story for six years and is currently Editor-at-Large at Catapult.

She teaches at NYU and is a faculty member of the low-residency MFA program at Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM.

For more information, please visit: www.mariehelenebertino.com.




Now available!

Prizewinning chapbooks by John Mee
& Maya Catherine Popa
winners of the Fool for Poetry Competition 2017

Purchase here



Now available at our online bookstore:

Liberty Walks Naked
a new collection by acclaimed Syrian poet
Maram al-Masri

Purchase here from our online bookstore



Announcing the prizewinners & shortlist
for the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2017


We received over an astonishing 2,200 entries for the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2017, and it is our pleasure to announce this year's prizewinners and shortlist.

Many thanks are due to our wonderful judge Mary Noonan who read each and every entry, and to all who submitted. And congratulations to these superb poets!

All the winning and shortlisted poems will be published in an upcoming issue of Southword.


First Prize
'Late Song' by Mark Wagenaar

Second Prize
'Tara's Thong' by Alan Garvey

Third Prize
'I Have Never Slept with an Animal' by Suzanne Cleary


'Hope Cove' by Polly Atkin
'An Fear Mór' by Anne Marie Connolly
'Miss Fogarty' by C. L. Dallat
'Next Stop, Ealing Broadway' by Gráinne Daly
'When Almonds Appear in Dreams'by Joanne Dominque Dwyer
'My Father Crashes a Car, 1965' by Jonathan Edwards
'Improvisation in a New Year' by Gary Keenan
'How I Started to Use a Cane' by Owen Lewis
'Ordering Quail as a Friend Lay Dying' by Karla K. Morton
'The Linguists' by Christopher North
'A Dream of Death Before a Burial' by Auesta Safi
'Of Floods. Of How' by Beth Somerford
'Hunt' by Katrina Turner
'Portrait of a Laryngologist' by Mark Wagenaar
'Prince Charming After Bankruptcy and Divorce' by Jeff Walt



Words Ireland - Nationwide Writers Series
Sat 25th March Triskel Christchurch 2-4pm

Free entry – registration essential: this event is for writers that earn or aspire to earn some or all of their income from writing. 2pm – 4pm.     REGISTER HERE

Format: panel discussion (50 mins) break (10 mins), followed by a public meeting open to writers in the audience (up to 50 mins). Refreshments provided.

Panelists: Mary Morrissy, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Kieran Crowley and William Wall

Details: Words Ireland is hosting a series of nationwide public meetings for professional and practising writers to hear how writers sustain their careers. We want to begin a national debate on the future of literature resourcing and funding in Ireland.

Which opportunities make creative and financial sense? Which types of writing work open doors to further opportunities? Which supports are you lacking and which are a waste of time? We’ll find out from a panel of experienced professional writers from across the genres who will also address issues relating to income, royalties, writers fees, and more.

After the panel discussion, we’ll be giving you – the writers in the audience – the opportunity to have your voices heard. Come prepared with practical improvements and new ideas for the literature sector in an event which will undoubtedly generate lively discussion and debate among the writers present.

Mary Morrissy is an ward-winning Irish novelist and short story writer, the author of three novels, Mother of Pearl, The Pretender and The Rising of Bella Casey, and two collections of short stories, A Lazy Eye and Prosperity Drive. She has taught creative writing at university level in the US and Ireland since 2000 and currently teaches at UCC where she is associate director of creative writing.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual writer working both in Irish and English. Among her awards are the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Michael Hartnett Prize, and the Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary. Her most recent book is Oighear.

Kieran Crowley is a children’s writer from Mallow, Co. Cork. His debut novel Colm & the Lazarus Key was shortlisted for the Bisto Book of the Year Award in 2010. His most recent book was The Mighty Dynamo, published by Macmillan in 2016.

William Wall is the author of four novels, two volumes of short fiction and three collections of poetry. His fifth novel, Grace’s Day, will be published by New Island in April 2017. His work has been translated into many languages and he translates from Italian. He lives in Cork.




The Munster Literature Centre regrets the passing of John Montague on December 10th.
John was a crucial literary figure, locally, nationally and internationally; one of Ireland's most major and best-loved poets.We had planned for John to take the honour of closing out the 2017 Cork International Poetry Festival in two months' time, on the occasion of the publication of his latest collection Second Childhood. The event will now consist of readings from the book by his daughters Oonagh and Sibyl, and by a selection of his former students including Thomas McCarthy, who has paid fitting tribute to John in this Irish Times Article.
The Irish Examiner marks his passing here.





We're delighted to announce our line-up for
the Cork International Poetry Festival 2017


with readings, workshops, and launches

14-18 February 2017

Click here for full programme details!


poetry fest





A new chapbook series by Southword Editions


chapbooksRapture by Roisin Kelly and Bourdon by Paul McMahon mark the exciting beginnings of what are sure to be long and and remarkable careers for these Irish poets.

We're delighted to publish their first chapbooks, both of which can be purchased here at our online bookstore.




New: Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin on Poetry International


ceaiti ni bhealdiuin

We're delighted to announce the publication of five poems by Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin over on Poetry International.

The poems are in Irish and in English translation, and many thanks to Doireann Ní Ghríofa for her introduction to 'one of the most innovative & interesting voices in contemporary Irish language poetry'.

You can read the poems, and more about the poet, here.




Announcing the 2016 winning, shortlisted
and longlisted stories in the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition:


1st Prize
“The Idyllic Land of the 6’s” by Shauna Mackay (Northumberland, UK)

Shauna Mackay


Shauna Mackay lives in Northumberland with her husband and family. She is a previous recipient of the Andrea Badenoch Award for fiction and has stories published, or forthcoming, at several places online.

View all winning, shortlisted and longlisted authors on the competition page.





Fool For Poetry Chapbook Winners

Maya PopaJohn MeeRoisin KellyPaul McMahon

Congratulations to winners John Mee & Maya Catherine Popa!


Two further chapbooks by Róisín Kelly & Paul McMahon
to be published in our 'New Irish Voices' series

 There was a 25% increase in entries to this year's Fool for Poetry competition and the standard was extremely high. We will be posting a list of the 12 shortlistees and the many highly commended on munserlit.ie next week. But we can announce now that the overall winner this year was John Mee from Cork who won the Patrick Kavanagh Award just last year. Runner-up was New York-based Maya Catherine Popa - a previous winner of the Gregory O'Donoghue Prize.

Both John and Maya are debutantes and we are very proud to be issuing their first solo publications at the launch of the Cork International Poetry Festival next February. Our chapbook list will be augmented by a 'New Irish Voices' series. In November we will publish debutant chapbooks by Belfast-born, Munster-resident poets Roisin Kelly and Paul McMahon.

Thank you to everyone who entered and to James Harpur, Thomas McCarthy, Leanne O'Sullivan and Matthew Sweeney who judged the final 12 manuscripts shortlisted by Patrick Cotter - anonymous all the way.

View the highly commended and shortlisted titles at our Fool For Poetry page.




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






Previous articles and information available on the Archives page.




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Subscribe to Southword



Southword Editions




2019 John Montague Fellow
Sandra Beasley


2018 Fellow Carys Davies

2019 Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship
applications now open

Deadline: 31st Jan 2019




The Cork International
Poetry Festival

March 19 - 23, 2019



The Cork International
Short Story Festival




The Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Results February 2019



The Southword Fiction
Chapbook Competition

Results January 2019


how to pass

The Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story Competition

2018 winner How to Pass
by Louise Crimmins
will be in Southword 36



The Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition

2018 winners
1st: Katie Hale
2nd: Regina Melveny




Youtube channel



Words Ireland

The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland


Poetry International

Recent additions:

Michelle O'Sullivan
Paddy Bushe
Doireann Ní Gríofa
Paul Casey




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