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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.




Connect with Munster
Literature Centre
on social media

Munster Literature Centre









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


Announcing the 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'

by Caitlin Pryor of Texas, USA


3rd Prize: 'Radio Clash'

by Jane Satterfield of Maryland, USA


View the shortlisted and highly commended poems here.











Competition now closed! Thank you to everyone who entered.

A result will be reached by late January 2015, with a shortlist published on our website at that time. The winners will be announced at the Cork Spring Literary Festival in February 2015. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND signing up for the email newsletter (form at the end of this page), which will ensure that you will receive the results of the competition by email, whether your entry was a winner at this time or not. We regret, due to the volume of submissions, that we are unable to personally contact everyone who entered.

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


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.

Read more about the poetry competition.





How Fiction Works:
Master-class with Claire Keegan

Beckett Room, Gresham Metropole Hotel, Cork
9 December, 2014
10am - 3pm. €50

Claire Keegan


Claire Keegan, previous adjudicator of the Frank O’Connor Award and Writer in Residence at UCC, is returning to run a fiction master-class. This lecture will examine text through Claire Keegan’s eyes. Participants will be asked to consider and reconsider the structure of a narrative. What does it mean to begin? What is an ending? And how is this reached? What is tension? And why does tension rise and fall – or not rise at all? Participants will explore character, dialogue, place – and the difference between a fine and a weak paragraph of prose. The day will hold a particular interest for those who read, write or teach fiction but everyone is welcome.
To book your place, please contact MLC: administrator(AT)munsterlit(DOT)ie ; 021 431 2955

Claire Keegan has written Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, internationally acclaimed, are translated into 16 languages and have won numerous awards. Walk the Blue Fields was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year in The Guardian, 2010. Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. Of Antarctica, The Observer said, “these stories are among the finest stories recently written in English.” Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize, awarded to the strongest collection published in the British Isles. Foster was elected by readers as the best story published in that year in The New Yorker. She also has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops in four continents. She holds an MA and an M.Phil in Creative Writing.

“Every line seems to be a lesson in the perfect deployment of both style and emotion.  –Hilary Mantel
“The best stories are so textured and so moving, so universal but utterly distinctive, that it’s easy to imagine readers savouring them many years from now and to imagine critics, far in the future, deploying new lofty terms to explain what it is that makes Keegan’s fiction work.” -The New York Times

“Every single word in the right place and pregnant with double meaning.” - Jeffrey Eugenides, The New York Times

Keegan is a rarity, someone I will always want to read.” – Richard Ford






Munster Literature Centre
Autumn Writing Workshops


MLC Writing Workshops

Odyssey! Fiction & Poetry with James Harpur
Songwriting with Fintan Lucy





COmpetition2014 Seán Ó Faoláin Competition

1st prize goes to American writer Susan Maier-Moul's story 'Pleasure'. Click here to view all winning and commended stories!







The Cork International Short Story Festival

16 - 20 September 2014


Cork International Short Story Festival


With readings by Richard Ford, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Colin Barrett and many more; the launch of the Davy Byrnes Anthology; presentation of the Seán Ó Faoláin and Frank O'Connor Awards, and a special Cork Literary Miscellany reading on Culture Night! More information http://www.corkshortstory.net






New Eyes on the Great Book

a joint publication with UCC School of English


New Eyes on the Great Book


Order your copy online!






New articles on the Irish page
of Poetry International

Current poets:
Áine Uí Fhoglú, Catherine Phil MacCarthy
& Joseph Horgan

Aine Ui FhogluCatherine Phil MacCarthyJoseph Horgan

Irish section of this prestigious poetry site produced by MLC .







Congratulations Colin Barrett,
author of Young Skins
which has won the 2014
Frank O'Connor International
Short Story Competition.


Young Skins by Colin BarrettFrank O'Connor International Short Story Award


Press release and more about the 2014 competition.

View the 2014 shortlist.

View the longlist.

Colin Barret will be presented with the award, and read at an event during the
Cork International Short Story Festival.






Now closed! Thank you to everyone who submitted.


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


First Prize: €2,000 (approx $2760/£1640 in April 2014), 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 other shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive a publication fee of €120.

Competition closes July 31, 2014


NEW: Win The Sean Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition and have dinner with Richard Ford and attend his Masterclass Talk.

When we say you can meet the literary stars at our short story festival in Cork we mean it. Aside from publication and €2,000 ($2650), the winner receives an offer of a week's residency in artists' retreat Anam Cara. From this year on the winner receives a Pushcart Nomination too. And if the winner chooses to come to Cork in September to receive the prize we'll put them up in a hotel for the duration of the short story festival (five nights) with full board and introductions to all the participating writers. Opening event this year is a reading by Richard Ford. This will be Richard's third time coming to the festival. He will be reading from new work at the festival and presenting Masterclass Craft Talk to the MA in Creative Writing Class at University College Cork which is closed to the general public.  


For full details and submission guidelines, please click here





MAY - JULY 2014


to the longlisted authors in the 2014
Frank O'Connor International
Short Story Competition.


Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award


View the list.


Shortlist to be announced on Friday, 13 June.




Announcing the winning, shortlisted
and commended poets in
the 2014 Fool For Poetry Chapbook Competition

Fool for Poetry


And the winners are...

Virginia Astley, The Curative Harp. Dorchester, Dorset, UK

Victoria Kennefick, White Whale. Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Both winners are débutants, and will each have their manuscript published, be awarded €500 and given fifty complimentary copies of their chapbook. They will also receive a showcase reading at the 2015 Cork Spring Poetry Festival, at which the chapbooks will be launched.


View shortlisted and commended poets.












2021 Competitions

Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Deadline: 30st November




Cork International
Short Story Festival

October 12 - 16




2021 Publications

Southword 40

Includes O'Faoláin Prize stories
& O'Donoghue Prize poems




Felicity Sheehy

Fool for Poetry Winner




Vicky Morris

Fool for Poetry Winner




Queer Love

Fiction anthology




YouTube Videos





O'Faoláin Short Story
Prize Reading Playlist




O'Donoghue Poetry
Prize Reading Playlist




How to Write Titles








Cork Events




Essays & Blogs




Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member of


The Munster Literature Centre

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

Tel. (353) 021 4312955 Email info@munsterlit.ie

Irish Registered Charity No.12374