MLC books

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











Now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!


Gregory O'Donoghue



Shortlistees will be notified personally and a shortlist will be published by early February. The winner will be announced at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival. Click here for more information about the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize.


The Munster Literature Centre is a not-for-profit institution, an officially registered charity in the Republic of Ireland Charity. No. 12374. All entry fees received in this competition will be disbursed in prize money, judge's fee and to fund services the Centre provides to writers and readers.





The Munster Literature Centre proudly presents


a seminar with Claire Keegan


Claire Keegan Seminar in Cork

Photo © Murdo MacLeod


Metropole Hotel, Saturday 10 December

10am - 1pm, €50

See ticketing info below.


The course is designed for anyone interested in writing a short story or a novel, or is already having difficulty with their fiction. It will examine how fiction works and how stories begin.

structure of narrative * writing dialogue * tension in fiction
* point of view/perspective characters & language * conflict * character development
* shape/ structure of a paragraph * reading recommendations * Q&A session

Claire Keegan is the author of Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster; publications which have earned her the William Trevor Prize (judged by William Trevor), The Francis MacManus Award, The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, The Edge Hill Prize and The Davy Byrnes Award among many others.

“a natural inheritor of the mantle of John McGahern and Alistair MacLeod, a writer already touched by greatness.” --Declan Kiberd

“Every line seems to be a lesson in the perfect deployment of both style and emotion.” --Hilary Mantel


Tickets will be on sale at the door. Seats available on a first come, first served basis. Fee payable by cash; also cheques, postal orders, bank drafts should be made payable to the Munster Literature Centre. We regret that we cannot accept credit or laser cards.






Winter 2011 Workshops

Beginning 1st week of November.


Matthew Sweeney Poetry WorkshopsIan Wild workshops at the Munster Literature Centre


Poetry with Matthew Sweeney and Fiction with Ian Wild


Participation Details

--Intimate class size (ten maximum) individual attention guaranteed
from a much published prize-winning author.
--Held weekly 7-9 pm, from 2 November (Poetry on Wednesdays) and 3 November (Fiction on Thursdays).
--Fee: €120 (€100 Concession) for six workshops.

Visit the workshops page for more details.

Click here to download the brochure.





Cork Culture Night


Cork Culture Night

What will you see this Friday 23rd September 2011?

Culture Night 2011 will take place on Friday 23rd, September 2011

In Cork with over 75 venues taking part, over 200 events taking place and over 30,000 people expected to attend, this year's Cork Culture Night will be biggest yet!

The Munster Literature Centre will open its doors from 6pm to 10pm, screening documentaries about Edna O'Brien for the public. Edna O'Brien is this year's winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for her collection Saints and Sinners. Coffee/Tea and biscuits will be available for 1 euro.

Running from early evening until very late, there will be something for everyone, young and old alike. Theatres, galleries, observatories, public laboratories, artist studios, historic houses and Churches are staying open late and putting on a range of special programmes, all for FREE.

For full details of Cork Culture Night 2011, click here








Edna O'Brien wins the 2011 Frank O'Connor Short Story AwardSaints & Sinners by Edna O'Brien


Edna O'Brien's short story collection Saints and Sinners has won the 2011 Cork City - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The final decision was made after much deliberation by the judges Thomas McCarthy (Cork-based poet), Alannah Hopkin (Cork-based writer) and Guardian journalist Chris Power (UK). The shortlist had a majority of women including Irish grandee Edna O’Brien and inaugural winner (2005) of the award Yiyun Li for her second collection. There were two young debutantes, Canadian Alexander MacLeod and American Suzanne Rivecca. American novelist Valerie Trueblood is shortlisted with her first short story collection and the shortlist is completed by the Irish literary heavyweight Colm Tóibín.

It was the first year two Irish authors had been shortlisted for this, the world’s largest and most prestigious award for the Short Story. Established in 2005 the €35,000 award is in the gift of the Munster Literature Centre and funded by Cork City Council. It was awarded for what was judged to be the best original short story collection published in English between July 1st 2010 and June 30th 2011. Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Jhumpa Lahiri and Simon Van Booy.

O’Brien received a standing ovation as she accepted the award. “This is lovely, wonderful,” she said. “When Maureen Stapleton won an Academy Award, she said she’d like to thank everyone she’d ever met. I should probably limit that to Munster… I’d like to thank this wonderful festival for doing so much to stimulate the dying flower called literature.”



Announcing the 2011 Seán Ó Faoláin Competition Winners


First Prize: P.G. O'Connor (Limerick, Ireland)--'The Haggard'

Second Prize: Laura Rock (Ontario, Canada)--'Woman Cubed'

Commended Stories

Guy Barriscale (Donegal, Ireland)--'Jamesy'

Jeremy Castle (Tipperary, Ireland)--'The Smallest Window in the World'

David O'Doherty (Cork, Ireland)--'Post Office'

Martha Williams (Cornwall, UK)--'Wet Stones'


P.G. O'Connor read his story, 'The Haggard' during the Cork International Short Story Festival and was presented with his prize on the same stage as Edna O'Brien, this year's recipient of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. All of the winning and commended stories (above) will be published in the winter edition of Southword Journal, an online literary magazine in late December/early January.


Congratulations to our winners and commended authors! A sincere thank you to everyone who participated.







September 14 - 18, 2011


Colm ToibinEdna O'Brien


Visit our dedicated festival website for more information including the programme, timetable & author-related links: http://www.corkshortstory.net

Also, check out our festival blog for articles by festival contributors, including a statement on why the festival has changed names! http://corkshortstory.wordpress.com/

This year's readers to include Edna O'Brien, Colm Toibin, Suzanne Rivecca, Yiyun Li, Alexander MacLeod, Valerie Trueblood, Siobhan Fallon and many more. To learn more about the Frank O'Connor Award, visit our award website: http://www.frankoconnor-shortstory-award.net/





Announcing The 2011 Seán Ó Faoláin Competition Shortlist

In alphabetical order by author surname:


Guy Barriscale (Donegal, Ireland)--'Jamesy'

Jeremy Castle (Tipperary, Ireland)--'The Smallest Window in the World'

P.G. O'Connor (Limerick, Ireland)--'The Haggard'

David O'Doherty (Cork, Ireland)--'Post Office'

Laura Rock (Ontario, Canada)--'Woman Cubed'

Martha Williams (Cornwall, UK)--'Wet Stones'


The winner and second prize-winning story will be announced at the Cork International Short Story Festival, 7pm 18 September 2011 (Metropole Hotel, Cork). All of the shortlisted stories will be published in a forthcoming issue of Southword Journal. The winning story will also be read in the festival on Saturday, 17 September at noon in the Metropole Hotel.







The Seán Ó Faoláin Competition longlist is now available!

Bird Alone by Sean O'Faolain

Click here to view the results.







Frank O'Connor Award Image

Announcing the 2011
Frank O'Connor International
Short Story Award Shortlist



Authors listed alphabetically by surname.


Yiyun Li * Gold Boy, Emerald Girl
(Random House)

Yiyun Li shortlisted for FOC Award 2011Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li


Alexander MacLeod * Light Lifting

Alexander MacLeod shortlisted for FOC Award 2011Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod


Edna O'Brien * Saints and Sinners

Edna O'Brien shortlisted for 2011 FOC AwardSaints and Sinners by Edna O'Brien


Suzanne Rivecca * Death is Not an Option

Suzanne Rivecca shortlisted for 2011 FOC AwardDeath is Not an Option by Suzanne Rivecca


Colm Tóibín * The Empty Family
(Viking Penguin)

Colm Tóibín shortlisted for 2011 FOC AwardThe Empty Family by Colm Tóibín


Valerie Trueblood * Marry or Burn

Valerie Trueblood shortlisted for 2011 FOC AwardMarry or Burn by Valerie Trueblood


For more information please visit our new website dedicated to the award:







Frank O'Connor Award Image

Announcing the 2011
Frank O'Connor International
Short Story Award Longlist



Colm Toibin photoYiyun Li PhotoJavier Marias photoAnthony Doerr photo


Press Release: May 31st, 2011


Munster Literature Centre are proud to announce the jury and long list for the Frank O’ Connor International Short Story Award 2011.

Submissions have been flowing into the Munster Literature Centre in Cork from publishing centres in New York, London and Delhi including collections by some the world’s leading short story writers. Among them are Irish author Colm Toibin who won the Edgehill Prize for his previous story collection, Spanish author and Impac Award winner Javier Marias, American Anthony Doerr, winner of the 2011 Sunday Times Short Story Award and Beijing-born Yiyun Li who won the inaugural Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2005 with her first book. Click here to view the full long list on our Award Page.






The 2011 Seán Ó Faoláin Competition





First Prize: €1,500 (*approx USD $2000/ GBP £1300), 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.


*Currency exchange amounts via XE.com, calculated 11.04.11


The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition is an annual short story competition 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 Fiction Festival (14-18 September 2011).

This year, Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat www.anamcararetreat.com is awarding a week-long residency to the first prize winner of the Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition. Located just outside the colourful village of Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Anam Cara is a tranquil spot structured to provide support and sanctuary for people working in the creative arts. It offers private and common working rooms as well as five acres of walking paths, thirty-four nooks and crannies, a river cascades and a river island, gardens, and a labyrinth meadow. Editoral consultation is also available. The prize is valued at €700. (The dates of the residency will be arranged between the writer themselves and Anam Cara, and can be scheduled before or after the week of the Cork International Short Fiction Festival. Otherwise, the week can be scheduled for another time of the year, at Anam Cara's discretion.


Judge: For 2011 is author and Fish International Short Story Prize winner Ian Wild.


PhotoIan Wild is a writer, composer and theatre worker from Enniskean, Co. Cork, Ireland and is the fiction editor for the forthcoming Southword Journal Online, Issue 20. In 2009 he won the Fish International Short Story Prize and received a literature bursary from the Irish Arts Council. His publications and broadcast work include Way Out Westa comedy series about the English community in West Cork for RTE Radio One; The Great Moodini and other stories20 children’s stories also broadcast on RTE’s Radio One. He has a collection of short stories published by Fish: The Woman Who Swallowed The Book Of Kells and also a volume of poetry entitled Intercourse With Cacti (Bradshaw Books). His literary awards include the North West Playwrights Award, a short story prize with the Cork Literary Review and in 2005 he won a runner-up award in the Bridport Short Story Prize. Four of his highly successful musical comedies appeared in Cork Midsummer Festivals between 1998 and 2003:  The Pirates in Short Pants, Marco Polo’s Toilet Brush, Reds Under the Beds and Spaghetti Western.


Please visit our SOF Competition Page for more details on how to enter.







New title from Southword Editions


A Boat to Heaven by Zhao Lihong


Click here to visit our translations bookshop.






MAY - JUNE 2011


Patrick Galvin 1927 - 2011



Patrick Galvin

Photo © Billy MacGill


It is with great sorrow we have just learned news of the passing of Patrick Galvin. Our thoughts are with his wife Mary and children Macdara & Grainne. As if it wasn’t enough that Patrick (many people knew him as Paddy) was an eminent poet, playwright, memoirist and songsmith he was also founder/chairman of the Munster Literature Centre, so he has a special place in our heart and in the hearts all of the people associated with us.

Reposing at his home, South Douglas Road on Wednesday, 11 May, from 4 to 9pm. Reposing at Connolly Hall on Thursday, 12 May, from 4pm to 8pm. Cremation on Friday at 2pm at the Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy.






Southword Journal Supplement 19A

now online!




Click through to read the winning Gregory O'Donoghue Competition poems from 2011, in addition to a selection of short fiction from the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival.






Congratulations to Matthew Sweeney!


Matthew Sweeney









Congratulations to Leanne O'Sullivan!


Photo of Leanne O'Sullivan


Irish poet Leanne O’Sullivan to receive fifteenth O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry; Public reading is April 15 at St. Thomas


The $5,000 O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry, established in 1997, honors Irish poets. The award is named for Lawrence O'Shaughnessy, who taught English at St. Thomas from 1948 to 1950, formerly served on the university's board of trustees and has recently retired as head of the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Foundation.  
In addition to her St. Thomas appearance, O’Sullivan will take part in a public conversation with local poet Katrina Vandenberg “The Personal and the Mythic: Poetry and Stories.” The event begins at 7 p.m. Monday, April 11, at the Hamline Midway Branch Library Auditorium, 1558 West Minnehaha, St. Paul. Vandenberg is the author of The Alphabet Not Unlike the World and Atlas: Poems, both published by Milkweed Editions. Her essays and poems have appeared in numerous national and regional journals, including The American Scholar, Poetry Daily, The Southern Review and Orion. Vandenberg is the recipient of many awards, including a Bush Artist Fellowship, a Loft-McKnight Award, a Minnesota State Arts Board grant. Both events are co-sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, a non-profit group that advocates for the library.    






Frank O'Connor Short Story Award


2011 brings major changes to the Cork City - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award



Please note: Major changes to conditions this year / 2011:


Deadline for receipt of entries and eligible publication dates

In recent years the organisers have taken note that books published between July and August are not being submitted for entry; so to remedy this, the year of publication for titles eligible to be entered for the 2011 award need to have been published between July 1st 2010 and June 30th 2011. Proofs and bound typescripts are acceptable for titles scheduled to be published after the closing date for entries which for this year has been extended to April 11th. Interested publishers are encouraged to submit immediately and not wait until the last moment.



Publicity requirements for publishers

The Frank O’Connor Short Story Award is remuneratively larger than any American book award. It is approximately equal to the Costa Book award and the Orange Prize for fiction. The organisers of the award will not charge publishers of winning or shortlisted titles thousands of pounds as in the case of the Costa and Booker awards but in order to fulfil the award’s purpose in raising the marketing profile of the winning title in particular and the short story in general the following conditions will be enforced:

It is a condition of entry that all shortlisted authors attend the award announcement at the reasonable expense of the award organisers (economy air travel and lodgings chosen by the organisers).

It is also a condition that all copies in print of the winning book and any subsequent English-language editions (up to five years after the award is made) carry a badge at the publisher’s expense (either as a sticker or part of the original printing) on the front cover declaring “Winner of the 2011 Frank O’Connor Short Story Award”.

€15,000 of the award money is payable to the author within a month of the award announcement.

€20,000 is payable within six months after the award announcement once the award director is satisfied that the title’s publishers have complied with the badge requirement. The second tranche of €20,000 payable to the author will be forfeited if the author’s publishers fail to honour this condition.



Click here for more information about submission guidelines.






Spring 2011 Workshops



Matthew Sweeney Poetry WorkshopsLory Manrique Hyland Fiction Workshops


Download the brochure.

Download a map to the Munster Literature Centre here.

To register, email info(AT)munsterlit(DOT)ie.

Read more about the classes available at our Workshops Page.







New edition of Poetry International Web Ireland now up.



Ailbhe Darcy in Poetry International WebBernard O'Donoghue on Poetry International Web



Click here to read poems by and articles about Ailbhe Darcy and Bernard O'Donoghue.








Announcing the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition winners!



First Prize: Death of Alaska by Sandra Ann Winters


Sandra Ann Winters takes the 2011 Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prize



Second Prize: Superstition by Tadhg Russell


Third Prize: Bulloch Harbour, Winter 09 by Mike Casey



Honorary Mentions

(alphabetical order)


Marina Blitshteyn (New York, USA), 'Winding the Watch'

Magdalena Cullen (Cork, Ireland), 'Two Things'

Caroline M Davies (Bedfordshire, UK), 'At Sea'

Peggie Gallagher (Sligo, Ireland), 'In Her Later Years'

Noel King (Co. Kerry, Ireland), 'Danger'

Jim Maguire (Wexford, Ireland), 'Water Ghosts'

Michael McKimm (London, UK) 'The Ice Harvest'

Patrick Moran (Co. Tipperary, Ireland), 'So Much'

Tadhg Russell (Co. Cork, Ireland), 'The Wood'

KC Trommer (New York, USA), 'First Map'







Cork Spring Literary Festival 2011


Vist our new Cork Spring Literary Festival Blog for the most up to date information on festival events, as well as festival coverage including contributions by visiting authors and the MLC's Artistic Director.


Cork Spring Literary Festival Blog

Click here to visit the dedicated website.

Click here to view a map of Festival venues.





Announcing the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition shortlist!


Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition


In alphabetical order by author:


Marina Blitshteyn (New York, USA), 'Winding the Watch'

Mike Casey (Co. Dublin, Ireland), 'Bulloch Harbour, Winter 09'

Magdalena Cullen (Cork, Ireland), 'Two Things'

Caroline M Davies (Bedfordshire, UK), 'At Sea'

Peggie Gallagher (Sligo, Ireland), 'In Her Later Years'

Noel King (Co. Kerry, Ireland), 'Danger'

Jim Maguire (Wexford, Ireland), 'Water Ghosts'

Michael McKimm (London, UK) 'The Ice Harvest'

Patrick Moran (Co. Tipperary, Ireland), 'So Much'

Tadhg Russell (Co. Cork, Ireland), 'Superstition'

Tadhg Russell (Co. Cork, Ireland), 'The Wood'

KC Trommer (New York, USA), 'First Map'

Sandra Ann Winters (North Carolina, USA), 'Death of Alaska'





The new issue of Southword Journal (#19)

Southword Journal Online


Ron Rash at the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival


is now up and makes great winter reading!


If you would like to submit poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction to the next issue, please note that submission guidelines have significantly changed. Visit our submission guidelines page for the new instructions! Deadline: 15 March 2011.









Cork Spring Literary Festival 2011


Click here to visit the dedicated website!














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