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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









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.




















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