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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.

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.














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



Announcing the results of the 2013 Seán Ó Faoláin
International Short Story Competition.

1st & 2nd prize winning stories, and the four runners-up, will be published
in the December 2013 issue of Southword Journal.


1st Prize

Molia Dumbleton--Illinois, USA
'The Way We Carried Ourselves'


2nd Prize

Danielle McLaughlin--Co Cork, Ireland
'The Others'



Ariel Berry--Indiana, USA
'To the Stranger in the Corner Drawing Wings on a Napkin with a Felt-tip Pen'

Kevin Doyle--Cork, Ireland
'We Should Be Beyond This'

Aoife Fitzpatrick--Dublin, Ireland
'The Observable Universe'

Gaynell Gavin--South Carolina, USA
'Blue Hour'


Highly Commended

Joanna Campbell--Gloucestershire, UK
'When Saturday Stopped'

Tracey Iceton--Stockton-on-Tees, UK
'Butterfly Wings'

P.A. Gallagher--Belfast, Northern Ireland
'The Winner'

Ruth Joffre--Iowa, USA
'Three Sides Surrounded by Mountains, One Side by Water'

Aviya Kushner--Illinois, USA

Sheila Mulhern--Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
'The Thaw'

Siobhan Murtagh--Co Kildare, Ireland
'Praying to Rubens'

Joseph Neal--New York, USA
'The Heavy Man'

Jill Widner--Washington, USA
'When Stars Fell Like Salt Before the Revolution'



Pigs' Feet, White Socks & Hoovers


More information about the Seán Ó Faoláin Prize print anthology here, containing the winning stories from the last 10 years of the competition.



Want to be the first to hear about next year's competition? Sign up for our email newsletter!





Open for submissions from May to July annually. The Munster Literature Centre is a not-for-profit organisation; all moneys raised from the competition benefits writers and writing. Click here to view winners and longlisted/commended authors from previous years, and access links to the winning stories.


More about the 2013 Competition


First Prize: €2,000 (*approx $2602.11/£1700.04), 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, calculated 10.04.13. If the winner is from outside Ireland, the amount paid will be the equivalent of €2,000, subject to market changes as determined by the bank in September 2013.


Judge: Author of Bloodlines, current fiction editor of Southword Journal and winner of the 2006 Seán Ó Faoláin Prize Joyce Russell.


Joyce RussellBloodlines by Joyce RussellJoyce Russell grew up in the Yorkshire Dales and in 1978 moved to Bantry in west Cork to live the self-sufficiency dream. She has won or been shortlisted on multiple occasions for the Sean O Faolain Short Story Award, The Real Writers International Award, and the START Chapbook prize, the Bridport Prize, the RTE Francis MacManus Short Story Competition and the FISH Short Story Competition. She is a founder member of Friends of the Earth Ireland and is co-author with her husband, Ben, of The Polytunnel Book.


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Read Issue 25A
featuring the winners
and shortlisted poets of
the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry

Southword Journal

Read Southword Journal




Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story

Open to entries
May - July




Cork International Short Story Festival

The Cork
Short Story Festival

16 - 20 September, 2014




frank oconnor

The Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Award

the world's richest prize for
a short story collection




Poetry International: Ireland

alan jude mooremacdara woods

MLC produces the Irish section
of this prestigious poetry site.
Current poets:
Alan Jude Moore & Macdara Wood




Writing Workshops
at the MLC





Anthologies & Translations

Bird Alone

Visit our bookstore here.




Munster Literature Centre

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The Munster Literature Centre

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

Tel. (353) 021 4312955, Email: munsterlit(AT)eircom(DOT)net

Irish Registered Charity No.12374