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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





Fool for Poetry International

Chapbook Competition Winners

Some people are fools for love, others are fools for poetry


fool for poetry


Announcing the results of the 2016 competition:


Maya PopaJohn MeeRoisin KellyPaul McMahon

Congratulations to winners John Mee & Maya Catherine Popa!


Two further chapbooks by Róisín Kelly & Paul McMahon
to be published in our 'New Irish Voices' series

 There was a 25% increase in entries to this year's Fool for Poetry competition and the standard was extremely high. We will be posting a list of the 12 shortlistees and the many highly commended on munserlit.ie next week. But we can announce now that the overall winner this year was John Mee from Cork who won the Patrick Kavanagh Award just last year. Runner-up was New York-based Maya Catherine Popa - a previous winner of the Gregory O'Donoghue Prize. Both John and Maya are debutantes and we are very proud to be issuing their first solo publications at the launch of the Cork International Poetry Festival next February. Our chapbook list will be augmented by a 'New Irish Voices' series. In November we will publish debutant chapbooks by Belfast-born, Munster-resident poets Roisin Kelly and Paul McMahon. Thank you to everyone who entered and to James Harpur, Thomas McCarthy, Leanne O'Sullivan and Matthew Sweeney who judged the final 12 manuscripts shortlisted by Patrick Cotter - anonymous all the way.





Announcing the results of the 2015 competition:


Victor TapnerVictor Tapner has taken top prize with his manuscript Banquet In the Hall of Happiness. Tapner's full collection Flatlands was published by Salt in 2010. Among his previous honours he has won the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, the Wigtown Prize and Flatlands won the East Anglian Book Award for Poetry.


Tania HershmanTania Hershman came second with her manuscript Nothing Here is Wild, Everything is Open. Tania has published books of short fiction previously but this will be her debut poetry volume. Her fiction books are The White Road & Other Stories (Salt, 2008) and My Mother Was An Upright Piano (Tangent, 2012).


The following poets were also selected as finalists from a field of over 200 entries:

Liz Bahs, Berkshire, UK
Garret Bryant, California,
Catherine Cole, Wollongong, Australia.
Kevin Conroy, Naas, Ireland
Paul McMahon, Sligo, Ireland
Lauren Rusk, California
Ryan Vine, Minnesota

The judging process consisted of Patrick Cotter selecting the finalist manuscripts and past and present Southword Poetry editors, James Harpur, Thomas McCarthy, Leanne O'Sullivan and Matthew Sweeney, ranking (without mutual consultation) each finalist in order of preference. When points were added up Victor Tapner and Tania Hershman came out tops.

The winning chapbooks will be launched at next February's Cork International Poetry Festival.




Announcing the results of the 2014 competition:

(Both 2014 winners are débutantes.)


Curative HarpThe Curative Harp by Virginia Astley
Southword Editions
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-905002-41-2
Price: €8 (within Republic of Ireland)/ €10 (shipped internationally)

Choose delivery country

Virginia Astley is a songwriter and musician who from a young age has appreciated the process of writing, often working things out by writing them out. Her collection Solvitur Ambulato was published in The New Writer earlier this year. She has won prizes in several competitions including: The Frogmore, Ver Poets, East Coker and Manchester Cathedral. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and is currently completing her book: Keeping the River. This is a narrative non-fiction based on the River Thames and the lives of those who work and live on the river. She has received the Dorset Prize for Poetry.



Victoria KennefickWhite Whale by Victoria Kennefick
Southword Editions
28 pages
ISBN: 978-1-905002-40-5
Price: €8 (within Republic of Ireland)/ €10 (shipped internationally)

Choose delivery country

Victoria Kennefick is a native of Shanagarry, Co. Cork.  She was a receipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in 2007 and completed her PhD in Literature at University College Cork in 2009. Her poems have been published in The Stinging Fly, Southword, Wordlegs, The Weary Blues and Abridged.  She won the Red Line Book Festival Poetry Prize in 2013 and is shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2014 judged by Emily Berry.  In 2013 her work was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2013 and highly commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prize 2014.  She was selected to read as part of the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series 2013 and at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival Emerging Writers Reading in February 2014.  Now living and working in Kerry, she is a member of the Listowel Writers' Week committee and co-coordinator of its New Writers' Salon, as well coordinating the recently established Kerry Women Writers' Network.   She is the recipient of the Cill Rialaig /Listowel Writers' Week Residency Award 2014 and has just been granted a Bursary from Kerry County Council.  Victoria will be running poetry writing workshops in Tralee and Listowel Libraries sponsored by Kerry County Council as part of the Bealtaine Festival 2014. 



Graham Allen. Cork, Ireland
Judith Barrington. Portland, Oregon, USA
Lucinda Grey. Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Maria Isakova Bennett. Liverpool, UK
Jory Michelson. Bellingham, Washington, USA
Emma Must. Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Don Nixon. Wolverhampton, Shropshire, UK
James Patterson. Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
Jamie Weaver. Chicago, Illinois, USA
Charles Wuest. Texas, Dallas, USA

Highly Commended

Lucy Brennan. Canada.
David Butler. Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Stephanie Conn. Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Marie Coveney. Monkstown, Co. Cork, Ireland
Kathryn Criston. Meilen, Switzerland
Armel Dargon. Alencon, France
Darren Donohue. Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
Clarissa P Green. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Minal Hajratwala, India
Katharine Janeczek. Galway, Ireland
Sheila Mannix. Baltimore, Co. Cork
Olivia Kenny McCarthy. Cloughboley, Sligo
Paul McMahon. Sligo, Ireland
James O’Sullivan.
M Rather, Jr. Orange, Texas, USA.
Michael Ray. Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Janet M Roberts. El Cerrito Hills, California, USA
Lynn Roberts. Tunbridge Wells, UK
Julie-Ann Rowell. Totnes, Devon, UK
Breda Wall Ryan. Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Michael Sheehan. Glanmire, Co. Cork, Ireland
Jasper Winn. Bandon, Co. Cork
Landa Wo. Munich, Germany
Kirby Wright. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA







Previous winners of the Fool For Poetry Competition


2008 Winner




Done Dating DJs


Done Dating DJs by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey was winner of the 2008 Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition published by Southword Editions, Cork. Minniti-Shippey’s Done Dating DJs contains poems with precursors as varied as William Carlos Williams and Rita Ann Higgins. A wry sophisticated humour is invested in these crisp confident poems by a young poet who has found her voice. If Sex and the City were aimed at a higher brow level and written inverse, this could be it.

Jennifer Minniti-ShippeyJennifer Minniti-Shippey studied Creative Writing at Randolph-Macon Women’s College, and is a graduate of the MFA program at San Diego State University. Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Web Del Sol Review of Books, and her chapbook, Less Whiskey, was published through Poetry International’s New Poets of America Series. She grew up in Oregon, and since then has lived happily in the southern United States, Spain, and Ireland. She now lives in San Diego, California where she teaches creative writing and horseback riding, although not at the same time. Jennifer Minniti-Shippey appeared at the Munster Literature Centre's Éigse 2009 festival on Thursday, 19th February 2009.


Buy Done Dating DJs






2005 Winner




Never Trust Where a Cat Sits


These poems speak with an honesty and straightforwardness, impossible to doubt. If the Wife of Bath had a descendant living in the New World, she could have written these. Of the body and the bawdy, these sixteen short pieces entertain by sly syllables, quick phrases, stunning twists. This is a prize-winning chapbook as refreshing and unabashed as a Sheela-na-gig. -Ron Houchin

Irene MosvoldIrene Mosvold is a poet from Kentucky, USA. Publications in journals include poems in Arable Press, Heliotrope and Revival. Her work has been anthologised in Open 24 Hours (Open 24 Hours Press, 2007), Scríobh Poetry Competition Chapbook (Scríobh and Model Arts, 2006), Splinters, A Collection of Stories (Waldron, Dillon, Aghamore, Ballyhounis Company, 2005), and Dexter Hannon's Guide to Auto Maintenance (Smiling Politely Publishing, 2004).

Buy Never Trust Where a Cat Sits














Words Ireland

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




The Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Gregory O Donoghue

Deadline: 30 November




Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

30 November 2017

Marie Helene Bertino
2017 Fellow:
Marie-Helene Bertino




Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in spring.




Fool for Poetry


Molly Minturn &
Bernadette McCarthy !


Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story
Competition 2017

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Louise Nealon!




Southword Editions

on sale in
our bookstore


including Fool For Poetry
winners, the New Irish
Voices series & more






Read all the latest issues
of Southword journal
online here


Poetry International

Recent additions:

Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin
Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn
Brendan Cleary
Eleanor Hooker

& more





The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in September






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