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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






O'Donoghue Poetry Prize Results

We received over 1500 entries for the 2020 Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize. The judge was Kim Addonizio. The winning and shortlisted poems will be featured in issue 38 of Southword, launching on March 28th at the Cork International Poetry Festival and can be purchased here.

Shortlist & Commended Poems Listed Here


First Prize

Crosswalk by Jennifer Saunders (Bern, Switzerland)


Jennifer Saunders is the author of Self-Portrait with Housewife (Tebot Bach, 2019), winner of the Clockwise Chapbook Competition, and is a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Orison Anthology nominee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Grist, JuxtaProse, Ninth Letter, Spillway, and elsewhere. Jennifer holds an MFA from Pacific University and lives in German-speaking Switzerland where in the winters she teaches skating in a hockey school and drives her hockey-playing children to many, many ice rinks.


Second Prize

The mighty salmon by Chris Burke (Paris, France)


Chris Burke is a writer and journalist whose debut collection of poetry, The Noise of Everything at Once, was published by Happy House Books in 2017. His work has appeared in magazines including Antiphon, the French Literary Review, Snakeskin and Prole, and he has featured on the UK National Poetry Competition longlist.


Third Prize

Lastness by Jed Myers (Seattle WA, USA)


Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks. Recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Southern Poetry Review, Ruminate, and elsewhere. He edits poetry for Bracken.


Shortlist & Commended Poems Listed Here



Opportunities on Submittable

Poems now being considered for Southword 39


Stories now being considered for Southword 39



Trainee Editorship at Southword



Frank O'Connor Short Story Fellowship

Deadline February 29th



Farmgate Café National Poetry Award 2020
Submissions accepted until December 16th


This award, sponsored by the renowned Farmgate Café in the English Market, Cork is a cash prize of €2000 for the best poetry collection published in English by a poet resident in Ireland during the previous calendar year (2019).

Submission details here



Applications open to Cork poets to be mentored by our John Montague Poetry Fellow, Paula Bohince




Announcing the winners of the 2019
Fool For Poetry Chapbook competition

1st Prize: Parturition by Heather Treseler
(Massachusetts, USA)


2nd Prize: Satyress by Audrey Molloy
(Sydney, Australia)

audrey molloy

Both chapbooks will be launched at the 2020 Cork International Poetry Festival (March 24th - March 28th) and the winners will receive cash prizes and accommodation with full board for three nights at the festival.


(listed alphabetically by author surname)
Father of Invention by Partridge Boswell (New York, USA)
Milk Island by Partridge Boswell (New York, USA)
Pilgrim by Caroline Bracken (Dublin, Ireland)
Hero Hallucination by Joanne Dominique Dwyer (New Mexico, USA)
Songs For a Patriarch by Jenny Mitchell (London, England)
Satyress by Audrey Molloy (New South Wales, Australia)
V by Sarah Kathryn Moore (Washington, USA)
Even Townies Dream by Melanie Power (Montreal, Canada)
Parturition by Heather Treseler (Massachusetts, USA)
Late Songs & Psalms by Mark Wagenaar (Indiana, USA)

Click here for more details about the winners and the list of commended chapbooks


Writer Development Talks
Presented by the Munster Literature Centre
Cork City Library, November 2019



Saturday November 9th, 2pm
Cork City Library - Free Talk

"You're on Earth. There's no cure for that":
A short talk on creativity, destruction
and transformation in literary fiction

nov9The human brain is the site of creativity and destruction; of error and perfection and everything in between. It’s indivisible from our bodies: the brain is the body’s welcome mat and the door in the face. In this exploratory talk, Sarah Byrne, author and founding editor of The Well Review, will discuss creativity, destruction and transformation using examples from writers that have been key to her own writing and personal development such as Samuel Beckett, Rita Charon & David Foster Wallace. She will speak about the delights and terrors of writing both with and against a brain. To write with and against ourselves is not only the terrain of the writer's life, it's emblematic of the human condition. While there may not be a cure as Beckett claims, there's transformative potential in story that can help us learn how to live in harmony with this conflict. Fiction can help us to think and act more creatively about how we carry ourselves and each other in the world.


Saturday November 16th, 2pm
Cork City Library - Free Talk

The Well Review Literary Journal:
A short talk on innovation
in literary journal publishing

nov16Sarah Byrne studied words and Christian Carley studied images. In 2016, they founded a poetry and visual arts journal called The Well Review. The journal was named after the historic and complex Cork neighbourhood that has simultaneously hosted the most central and marginalised communities in Cork's history. Together, Sarah and Christian will present the strange and exciting story of the journal and discuss the importance of innovation, collaboration and error. The Well Review is a print journal that prioritises creativity, aesthetics and original thought, and publishes writers, artists and thinkers from Ireland and abroad. The Well Review has published four publications to date. The Well Review has worked on events and projects with the following organisations: Munster Literature Centre, Farmgate Café, West Cork Literary Festival, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, UCC Library, Poetry Ireland, Cork County Council, UNESCO Dublin and many others. The journal has received funding from The Arts Council since 2018 and has published some of the leading voices in international poetry and art, alongside Irish writers and visual artists.

Sarah Byrne is a writer and poetry editor currently based in Cork. She worked for nearly a decade as an advocate, researcher and mediator in mental health and criminal justice settings. She is co-founder of The Well Review. Her work has been published in The New Statesman, The Irish Times and elsewhere. Her current research is on the relationship between narrative psychiatry and literary fiction. She is working on a collection of short stories called You Have Been Here Some Time. She teaches freelance with The Poetry School and The Oxford School of Poetry.

Christian Carley is a graphic artist, designer and musician. He studied at the Crawford College of Art and Design and the Dublin Institute of Technology. He is co-founder of The Well Review. He has worked in graphic design for fifteen years, and has a particular interest in graphic novels, the intersection of music and art, and glitch art in 1980s/1990s computer technology. He teaches IT and graphic design on a freelance basis.


Saturday November 23rd, 2pm
Cork City Library - Free Talk

Publish Your Book Yourself
Without Losing Your Shirt

nov23To publish a book is to launch a small business. People understand that the aim of most businesses is to make a profit, but to do that you must first avoid a loss. Thanks to new technologies and new service providers the cost of publishing a book can be thousands of euro cheaper than it would have cost twenty years ago. If you are thinking of publishing a book yourself, come to this talk, to hear about all you need to know about production costs, the marketplace and how not to lose lots of money in the process. Presented by Patrick Cotter who has guided the production of over forty publications in the past thirty years.


Saturday November 30th, 1.30pm
Cork City Library - Free Talk

So You Want a Career as a Poet

nov30How do you forge a ‘career’ as a poet? Should you even be thinking in terms of a ‘career’ and what can you expect from a ‘career’ as a poet? Prize-winning poet Patrick Cotter will share with you his insights into the business of poetry from the viewpoint of a poet, editor, publisher and event curator with over thirty years of experience. patrickcotter.ie





New Chapbooks released autumn 2019


It's Not Me, It's You by Brian Kirk
Price: €7 (within Republic of Ireland)
€9 (shipped internationally)

“It almost seemed wrong to tear the paper, but when Helen finally lifted the lid Robert saw over her shoulder an explosion of bright and dark colours, and for a moment he forgot what he had given her. It appeared to be a box of coloured lights. Then he watched her hand disappear inside and he remembered how it would feel cool and smooth like cream.”



A Middle Eastern No by Jill Widner
Price: €7 (within Republic of Ireland)
€9 (shipped internationally)

“Yalda liked to talk to me about her life in Shiraz before she moved to California. But only in the dark. Maybe her memory was clearer in the dark. Whatever it was, she told me things in the dark that she wouldn’t have ordinarily revealed about herself. I don’t think she realized that it gave me a kind of advantage.”



Kissing Maura O'Keeffe by Gerry Murphy
Price: €6 (within Republic of Ireland)
€8 (shipped internationally)

Kissing Maura O’Keefe, his second chapbook with Southword Editions, is a selection of old and new love poems by Cork poet Gerry Murphy. Murphy has published eight collections of poetry, noted for their political and erotic charge as well as their irreverent humour.





Announcing the 2019 Seán O'Faolain Short Story Prize Winners


1st Prize:
Come Closer by Mike Allen
(Norfolk, England)

Mike Allen was born in London. He graduated with a BA from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2010 and from the University of East Anglia with an MFA in Prose Fiction in 2017. In 2019, he was awarded an Escalator prize by the UK National Centre for Writing. He is working on his first collection of short stories.

Mike will read his winning story on Sepember 28th as part of the Cork International Short Story Festival - tickets available here.



2nd Prize:
The Rules by Peter Hughes
(Monaghan, Ireland)

Born in 1962, Peter Hughes is a journalist and writer from Monaghan Town. He works as an editor and journalist for the Co Monaghan weekly provincial newspaper The Northern Standard. He was previously shortlisted for a Hennessy Literary Award for his poem ‘Mousewoods’.



Chamomile by Cristina Ioana Aramă (Bucharest, Romania)
Can you feel it? by Shelley Hastings (London, England)
I Knew You Then by Kelly Kirwan (New York, USA)
The Basket and the Flask by Jean Roarty (Dublin, Ireland)


These six stories will be published in issue 38 of Southword.


Highly Commended

Billy O'Callaghan, the 2019 judge, would like to highlight the work of 32 other writers who were part of his longlist of 38, chosen out of nearly 900 entered for this year’s Seán O’Faoláin Short Story Prize - this list can be found here.




Culture Night 2019, Poetry Chapbook Launch
Kissing Maura O'Keeffe by Gerry Murphy

At 9 p.m, Friday September 20th, in Cork City Library, Southword Editions will launch Kissing Maura O’Keefe, a chapbook selection of old and new love poems by Cork-poet Gerry Murphy. Murphy has published 8 collections of poetry, noted for their political and erotic charge as well as their irreverent humour.




Just Launched
Special end of year issue of Southword
a retrospective special featuring Jo Shapcott, Danielle McLaughlin, Dermot Healy and many more...




Announcing the winner of the 2017 Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition!

1st Prize goes to "What Feminism Is" by Louise Nealon from Co. Kildare, Ireland. Her winning story, along with the second prize winner “Dear Miss Jacobs” by Paul Byall from Georgia, USA, and four shortlisted stories will be published in the winter edition of Southword Literary Journal. ("Cicada" by Dean Gessie, "One Last Chance at the Night" by Rory Duffy, "The Ballad of Apollo" by Daniel Shand and "Fast-forward" by Tatiana Duvanova).

Louise Nealon

Louise Nealon is a twenty-six year old writer from Co. Kildare. She studied English literature in Trinity College Dublin, and then completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast in 2016. She currently lives on her family’s farm where she divides her time between reading, writing and milking cows.

We are looking forward to having Louise read her winning story at the Cork International Short Story Festival.

More details about the Seán Ó Faoláin Competition here.




Molly Minturn and Bernadette McCarthy have won the 2017 Fool For Poetry Competition!


Molly MinturnBernadette McCarthy


Molly Minturn of Charlottesville, USA has taken first place for her manuscript Not in Heaven, and Bernadette McCarthy of Cork, Ireland was awarded second place for Bog Arabic. Both poets will receive chapbook publication, 50 copies of their chapbooks and an invitation to read at the 2018 Cork International Poetry Festival.




Culture Night Poetry Reading

Nano Nagle Place, 22 September
6pm - 9pm

Paul McMahonKathy D'ArcyLeanne O'Sullivan

Join the Munster Literature Centre on Culture Night this Friday for FREE poetry reading by fantastic local talent: Paul McMahon, Kathy D'Arcy, John Fitzgerald, Afric McGlinchey, Leanne O'Sullivan & Thomas McCarthy! Special thanks to Nano Nagle Place for providing the venue.



Marie-Helene Bertino Reading at UCC

5.30pm, Friday 22September

Marie Helene Bertino

The 2017 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow, Marie Helene Bertino, will be reading at UCC on Cork Culture Night. The writing fellowship is a programme of the Munster Literature Centre, with sponsorship from Cork City Council.





The Cork International Short Story Festival 2017!


Wednesday, September 13 - Saturday, September 16

This year a wealth of Irish and international writers will be making their way to Cork to share their words. Readers include David Means, Claire Keegan, June Caldwell, Danielle McLaughlin, Sean O'Reilly, and many more. Frank O'Connor Fellow Marie Helene-Bertino, and short story master Claire Keegan, will both be holding four-day writing workshops. With a full compliment of tickets for only 65 Euro, why not treat yourself? corkshortstory.net

(Don't forget to check out our four-day festival writing workshops with Claire Keegan and Marie-Helene Bertino!)




Finalists revealed for the
2017 Fool For Poetry Competition!

Fool For Poetry

Congratulations to the following poets whose collections have made the shortlist of the 2017 Fool For Poetry Chapbook Competition!

“Translation Class” - Tista Austin , UK 
“Instructions to Women” - Sarah Bence, USA 
“Lucky Scars” - Partridge Boswell, USA 
“Sweet Home Bewilderness” - Partridge Boswell, USA 
“Sewers of Love” - Donald Levering USA
“Bog Arabic” - Bernadette McCarthy, Ireland
“Not In Heaven” - Molly Minturn, USA 
“Mother Creature” - Audrey Molloy, Australia
“There Are Monsters In This House” - James O'Leary, Ireland 
“An Irish Lesson” - Clifton Redmond, Ireland

There were 246 manuscripts entered. 56 titles have made the long list. Judges Mary Noonan, Matthew Sweeney, Thomas McCarthy, James Harpur and Leanne O’Sullivan have been deliberating and the list of winners in the competition, soon to be announced. VIEW LONGLIST & MORE ABOUT THE COMPETITION HERE.


Announcing the longlist for the
2017 Fool For Poetry Competition!

Fool For Poetry

There were 246 manuscripts entered. 56 titles have made the long list. Judges Mary Noonan, Matthew Sweeney, Thomas McCarthy, James Harpur and Leanne O’Sullivan have been deliberating and the list of finalists in the competition will be published Monday 4th September 2017. The winners will be revealed later in the week! Thank you to everyone who entered. VIEW THE LONGLIST HERE.




Now closed. Winners to be notified in September. Thank you to everyone who entered!


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 here




Southword Issue 32
is now online!

Fiction, poetry, & reviews
Read them all here



We are delighted to present
the winning and shortlisted poems
in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2017



Read them all here in a special issue of Southword Literary Journal!




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!




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 2016


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




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.




















Seán O'Faoláin
Short Story Competition

Deadline: 31st July




Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition

Deadline: 31st August

ffp promo



Subscribe to Southword
Issue 38




Southword Editions
Chapbooks 2020

The King of The Lam
Greg Delanty



Audrey Molloy



Heather Treseler




MunsterLit Youtube
Every Monday & Friday




O'Faoláin Short Story
Prize Reading Playlist



O'Donoghue Poetry
Prize Reading Playlist



How to Write Titles




Essays & Blogs
In Praise of Celan




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