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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





Join us for Cruinniú na nÓg, June 15th

As part of Cruinniú na nÓg on June 15th, The Munster Literature Centre celebrates the art of storytelling through puppetry at Elizabeth Fort. Featuring puppetry television star Dominic Moore, who was part of the original Morbegs team and whose puppet character Basher Bacon first appeared in public on the RTÉ children’s show The Swamp

Performance Times:  2.30pm-3.15pm  |  4pm-4.45pm







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.






Cork International Short Story Festival
September 7th - 10th

Short Story Festival

The Cork International Short Story Festival's full programme is now up online. In recognition of these times of austerity many events are free and all the rest are priced at €5 each. A full set of tickets costs €55 and the first 30 to book the full set will receive a complimentary copy of Neil Jordan's seminal short story collection Night in Tunisia. As well as Neil the festival features Polly Sampson, Zsuzsi Gartner, Gerard Woodward, John Boyne, Alan Heathcock, Donal Ryan, many other well known names and as usual, brilliant new names you will never have heard of before but which will be common knowledge in the years ahead. There will be spotlights on the journals Banshee, Long Story Short, a Fiction Introductions Reading and the annual stimulating, controversial panel discussion. Zsuzsi Gartner's masterclass workshop is almost sold out but we have only just begun taking bookings for Alan Heathcock's four-morning workshop suitable for beginner and experienced alike. All details are here:

*PLEASE NOTE: the time listed in the front of the festival brochure for Aidan Mathews is incorrect. This reading will take place on Wednesday, 7th September at 8.30pm at St. Anne's Church (Shandon Bells).





ImageFrank O'Connor International
Short Story Fellowship

Announcement of mentorship recipients



The mentorship bursaries have been awarded to Marie Gethins of Passage West, Cork, and David Brennan of Cork. The two runners-up are Eimear Ryan of Cork, and Micheál ó Siocháin of Charleville, Co. Cork.


Marie GethinsMarie Gethins’ work has fea­tured in The Irish Times, 2014/15/16 National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, NANO, Litro, The Lonely Crowd,Wales Arts Review, The Incubator, Firewords Quarterly and others. She won or placed in The Short Story, Tethered by Letters, Flash500, Dromineer Literary Festival, Kanturk Arts, The New Writer, Prick of the Spindle and 99fiction.net. Other pieces listed in From The Well, Boulevard Emerging Writers, Bath Short Story Award, Bristol Short Story Prize, Fish Short Story/Flash/Memoir, James Plunkett, Listowel Writers Week Originals, Inktears, Over the Edge, WOW! Award, and RTE/Penguin com­pe­ti­tions. Marie is a Pushcart, Best of the Short Fictions, and British Screenwriters Award Nominee. She is completing her Master of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford and lives with her family in Glenbrook, Cork.


David BrennanIn 2014 David returned to Ireland after living in Japan for 12 years. He currently lives in Cork. In the last year he has been short listed for the Doolin Short Story award, the Curtis Bausse Short story award and long listed for the Fish Memoire prize. He has also published stories and poems in Memoryhouse, The Ogham Stone, Crabfat and Jungle Crows (a Tokyo anthology). He is currently working on a collection of stories, a novel or two, and a few other things! 




August issue of Southword Journal
now online!

Issue 30, August 2016

Eva BourkeMichael LongleyJan CarsonSimon Ó FaoláinPól Ó Muiri







The 2016 deadline has now passed.
Thank you to everyone who entered! The longlist will be announced at the end of August.


Evelyn Walsh


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.


The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition is an annual short story competition open to writers from around the world, submissions accepted from May to July annually. It is dedicated to one of Ireland’s most accomplished story writers and theorists, sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre. If the winner comes to Cork to collect their prize, we will lavish them with hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (7 - 11 September 2016). The Munster Literature Centre is a not-for-profit organisation; all moneys raised from the competition benefits writers and writing.


Visit our competition page for more information and submission guidelines.






competitionFool For Poetry Chapbook

Deadline: 31 May



1st & 2nd prize winners will each have their manuscript published, and will receive 50 complimentary copies of their chapbooks.

1st prize to receive €1000 & 2nd prize to receive €500.

The competition is open to new, emerging and established poets from any country BUT at least one of the winners will be a debutante (with no chapbook or book published previously). Up to 25 - 50 other entrants will be publicly listed as "highly commended".

How to Enter



Prize-winning 2015 Fool For Poetry Chapbooks
now on sale!


Tania HershmanVictor Tapner


Now available for purchase are Tania Hershman's début poetry publication, Nothing Here is Wild, Everything is Open and Victor Tapner's newest work Banquet in the Hall of Happiness.


Visit our bookstore.






Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries

Fiction Mentorship

There will be available two Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries which consist of fees-free mentoring by 2016 Frank O’Connor International Fellow Zsuzsi Gartner. Eligible applicants must be resident in Cork city or resident in the county and contributing to the literary life of the city. Minimum requirements must be one fiction periodical publication credit. There will be no upper limit of qualification – any qualified Cork writer who considers themselves capable of benefiting from the Fellowship mentoring relationship may apply. Exceptions being writers employed by the Munster Literature Centre or The School of English UCC, who may not apply.  A short list of as many as six candidates will be selected by the MLC’s Artistic Director and forwarded to the fellow who will select the two successful candidates. Applications may be made via Submittable, through 29 May 2016.






Cork World Book Fest
19 - 23 April 2016

Events at Cork City Library & Triskel Arts Centre




Featuring events such as the launch of new short story collections by well-known Cork writers William Wall and Mary Morrissy, as well as introducing new talent Rob Doyle. Three Liberties Press authors will come to Cork: Caitriona Lally who is nominated as best newcomer nominee in the Irish Book Awards 2015 with Eggshells, Kevin Curran, author of Citizens and Jan Carson author of Children’s children. Kevin Barry will read his Cork story from the first volume of this new arts anthology of stories, essays, reportage, photography and visuals which ask the reader ‘how do you do what it is that you do?’”  Leabhar na hAthghabhála, a fresh new collection of contemporary Irish-language poetry will debut on Thursday 21 at Cork City Library featuring contributors Louis de Paor and Biddy Jenkinson. While home in Cork Louis de Paor will lead a master-class on writing poetry in the Irish language. Other learning events include a creative writing workshop with Kevin Curran and professional clinics with agents, authors and publishers on Saturday 23 in Cork City Library.  There is a feast of activity for younger readers with a whole day dedicated to Teen events Wednesday 20 April. Maeve Higgins will bring her unique brand of comedy to the fest Saturday 23 and discuss her book Away from home and loving it.  Sort of.  “Off you go”. On Friday night Cork City Library Kathy D’Arcy, Maureen O’Connor and Louise O’Neill will host event celebrating Charlotte Bronte’s 200th birthday. Wednesday evening Nuala Ní Chonchúir delves into her book Miss Emily which reimagines the private life of poet Emily Dickenson as told through the voice of her family’s Irish maid.

For the full programme see www.constantreader.ie/corkworldbookfest

Events at Cork City Library are free.  Triskel events can be booked online at www.triskelartscentre.ie or by calling 021 4272022.

Telephone:+353 (0)21 492 4900, Fax:+353 (0)21 427 5684, Email: liam_ronayne@corkcity.ie






Fiction Workshop with Danielle McLaughlin


Danielle McLaughlin

6 Sessions on Thursday Evenings, 7 - 9PM
March 31st - May 12th (No class April 14)

Price: €120 / €100 concessions. Class maximum: 10


More information on how to register.




Forward Prize Nominations


The Munster Literature Centre has nominated the following poems for the Forward Best Single Poem Prize

from The Irish Examiner

‘Perspective’ by Laura McKenna
’And What We Know About Time’ by Tania Hershman
’Of Love, Sappho Wrote’ by Leila Chatti
’The Invisible Man’s Blind Date’ by Michael Derrick Hudson
From Southword

’At Guy’s Hospital’ by Jo Shapcott
‘Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare’s Eye’ by Breda Wall Ryan









Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
discontinued in 2016;
New short story opportunity to be announced!


Frank O'Connor


The Munster Literature regrets to announce that the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award is to be discontinued this year. The award was established in 2005 in an effort to increase the profile of the short story form on the literary scene, and to reward those who were judged to have written the best collection of stories that year. Serving our ethos of innovation and development, The Munster Literature Centre will soon announce a new opportunity in the world of short story writing. This new programme will be aimed at bringing accomplished international writers in contact with new and emerging Irish short story writers. Keep an eye on our website and social media for news!





Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prize Results

2016 Winners

Leila Chatti


These poems will be published in the April 2016 issue of Southword Journal

More information will be given at a later stage about the winners. but here quickly are the results of this year's competition. We realise many of you will want to submit elsewhere for December 31st deadlines and speedy delivery of this news will be beneficial.. There were almost 2000 poems entered so competition was stiff. But standards were so high I decided to increase the number of published "Highly Commended" poems from ten to twenty-five. I will publish a detailed judge's summation on my blog in the new year. In the meantime I would like to thank everyone who entered. We are a registered charity and your entry has helped us to keep Southword free for readers and provide publication fees for authors.
--Patrick Cotter

First Prize
‘After Another Attempt at Eighteen’
by Leila Chatti, West Bloomfield, Michigan, USA

Second Prize,
‘The Invisible Man’s Blind Date’
by Michael Derrick Hudson, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

Third Prize

‘Different Kinds of Life’
by James O’Sullivan, Cork, Ireland

Highly commended – in alphabetical order:
‘Sindhura, Andalusia’ by Amanda Bell, Dublin 6, Ireland
‘Of Love, Sappho Wrote’ by Leila Chatti, West Bloomfield, Michigan, USA
‘Gull Egg Season’ by Stephanie Conn, Ballyclare, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
‘Flood’ by Marie Coveney, Monkstown, Co Cork, Ireland
‘A Stay in North Carolina’ by Kelly Creighton, Newtownards, Co Down, Northern Ireland
‘Our Recurring List of Heartbreaks’ by Jonathan Greenhause, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
‘Perfect’ by Michael Fleming, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
‘The End of St. Barbara’ by Eithne Hand, Ireland
‘A Calling’ by Eleanor Hooker, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland
‘Loch na Fuaiche’ by Theophilus Kwek, UK
‘Aristotle’s Lantern by Anthony Lawrence, Kingscliff, New South Wales, Australia
‘Mary Daly’ by Simon Lewis, Crossneen, Carlow, Ireland
‘Solace at the P.O.’by Sandy Longley, Delmar, New York, USA
‘From a Hauptbahnhof Café in Berlin by Terry McDonagh, Swinford, Co. Mayo, Ireland
‘The Cure for the Burn’ by Paul McMahon, Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland
‘How to Construct the Hero of a Western’ by Jennifer Militello, Goffstown, New Hampshire, USA
‘As Much As A Letter’ by Emily Mohn-Slate, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
‘Looking West from Iona’ by Valerie Nieman, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
‘Photograph, Painting, Poem’ by Mary O’Donnell, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Ireland
’10.30 to Severn Beach’ by Elizabeth Parker, Bristol, Avon, UK
‘A Little off the Top’ by Laura Jan Shore, New Brighton, New South Wales, Australia
‘Oranmore’ by Peter Stuart-Sheppard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
‘Call Her Ghazal’ by Devon Walker-Figueroa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
‘Taking Soup’ by Glen Wilson, Portadown, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland
‘Bloodsuckers’ by Mary Woodward, St Albans, UK



2016 Cork International Poetry Festival
Tickets now on sale,
with discounts on early-bird purchases


Cork International Poetry FestivalConfirmed readers include Kyle Dargan, Paisley Rekdal, Ailbhe Darcy, Caitriona O'Reilly, Gerard Smyth, David O'Meara, Bronwyn Lea, Aidan Murphy, Thomas P. Lynch, Matthew Sweeney, Vona Groarke, John McAuliffe, Michael Coady, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Liam Ó Muirthile, Paul Casey, Afric McGlinchey, Tomica Bajsic, Thomas McCarthy, Louis de Paor, Gerry Murphy, Deryn Rees-Jones and Tom Pickard.


Registrations for workshops filling quickly, and submissions
for emerging poets' reading now being taken.

Visit corkpoetryfest.net for more information.
















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