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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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Munster Literature Centre







Evelyn Walsh

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


Announcing the 2016 winning, shortlisted
and longlisted stories:


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.

2nd Prize
“Lingua Franca” by Laura Legge
(Toronto, Canada)


(Organised alphabetically by author surname.)

Jan Carson (Belfast, Northern Ireland): “Amusements”

Keeley Mansfield (Dublin, Ireland): “A Balcony of Birds”

Lucy Nelson (NSW, Australia): “Getting it out”

Bernadette Owens (Belfast, Northern Ireland): “Biafra”


(Organised alphabetically by author surname.)

Samuel Ashcallay Samaniego (Maryland, USA): “S”

Thomas Atkinson (Ohio, USA): “Moving Target”

Aoife Casby (Co Galway, Ireland): “Famine: An Artwork”

Leo Cullen (Co Dublin, Ireland): “In a Wine Bar”

Ciarán Folan (An Spidéal, Co na Gaillimhe, Ireland): “Thin on the Ground”

Anne Griffin (Co Westmeath, Ireland): “A Kind of Fire”

Gay Lynch (Victor Harbour, South Australia): “Hatching an avocado”

Diana Powell (Pembrokeshire, Wales): “The woman who never begs”

Judith Turner-Yamamoto (Ohio, USA): “A Mercy”


The first and second prize winners, along with the four shortlisted titles, will be published in the winter edition (issue 31) of Southword Journal.





About the Competition

The Judge

Previous Winners



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.

Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat is again awarding a week-long residency to the first prize winner of the Seán Ó Faoláin 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 Story Festival. Otherwise, the week can be scheduled for another time of the year, at Anam Cara's discretion.)

More about 2016 Judge Danielle McLaughlin

Danielle McLaughlin


Danielle McLaughlin’s stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, The South Circular, Southword, The Penny Dreadful, Long Story,Short and The New Yorker. She has won various awards for her short fiction, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition 2012, The From the Well short story competition 2012, The Willesden Short Story Prize 2013, The Merriman Short Story Competition 2013 in memory of Maeve Binchy, and the Dromineer Literary Festival Short Story Competition 2013. She was shortlisted for the Irish Short Story of the Year category in the Irish Book Awards in 2013 and 2014, and her story ‘The Dinosaurs on Other Planets’ was shortlisted for the Davy Byrnes Award 2014. Her debut collection of short stories Dinosaurs on Other Planets will be published in Ireland by The Stinging Fly Press in autumn 2015, and in the UK (John Murray), US (Random House) and Germany (Luchterhand) in 2016.

Read her story 'The Dinosaurs on Other Planets' in The New Yorker

New Yorker interview with Danielle McLaughlin




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Words Ireland

The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland.




O'Donoghue Poetry

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Now accepting




Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

2016 Fellow:
Zsuzsi Gartner

Zsuzsi Gartner
Applications now
being accepted for
2017 residency.




Fool for Poetry


2016 winners announced!




Writing Workshops
at the MLC


Short story
festival workshops
coming soon.



Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

2016 winners announced




Southword Editions

Tania Hershman

Newest books:

Fool For Poetry
chapbooks by
Tania Hershman
& Victor Tapner



Poetry International

Recent additions:

Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn,
Brendan Cleary,
Eleanor Hooker
& more



Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in spring.




The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in September




Southword Issue 30

Southword Journal

New issue, free to read online.


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