Welcome to the Munster
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.
Connect with Munster
on social media
Born and raised at Cappoquin Co. Waterford in 1954. He studied at UCC under the influence of Sean Lucy and John Montague; Sean Dunne and Theo Dorgan were fellow students. McCarthy has published a substantial body of poems as well as a collection of autobiographical essays and two novels. He lives in Cork.
He received the Patrick Kavangh Award in 1977 for his first book and the American-Irish Foundation's Literary Award in 1984. His more recent books include his selected poems, Mr Dineen's Careful Parade, and Merchant Prince, a combination of poems and a novella recounting the story of a Cork merchant.
In 2009, Anvil Press published McCarthy's The Last Geraldine Officer. Set in two parts, his latest work begins with a collection of short lyrics of public and private life, with poems of family, love and politics and of Irish history. Part Two is a recreation of the forgotten period in the Anglo-Irish political world between the two World Wars, drawing on a wide variety of poetic texts to mix competing loyalties and readings of Irish history.
Forthcoming in 2010 is his historical work on the burning of Cork's Carnegie Library & the rebuilding of its collections, Rising from the Ashes.
"Considered by Dennis O'Driscoll to be, along with Muldoon, the most important Irish poet of his generation, McCarthy is a poet primarily concerned with politics and family. His work's importance lies in its unremitting and detailed examination of the Republic's failures and successes as an independent state. Described by Eavan Boland as the first poet born into the Republic to write about it critically, McCarthy has done so from the perspective of a family dedicated and loyal to the state's most successful and powerful political party: Fianna Fail. But his poems are not eulogies to the party or apologies for its policies; they are more like an exploration of the party as an object of loyalty and devotion (like a lover objectified) with all the potential such an object has for empowerment and betrayal. McCarthy has attracted much lazy and inattentive criticism including one reviewer who presumed he was writing about the Soviet Communist Party." -Patrick Cotter
Interview and Readings by McCarthy at Podcasts.ie
Thomas McCarthy: Why I Write
'The Poetry of Thomas McCarthy' by August Kleinzahler
Qualm: Poems by Thomas McCarthy
Bio and poems at Poetry International Web
The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland.
at the MLC
begins 21 October
10 - 13 February
Southword Issue 28
New issue, free to read online.
Fool For Poetry
& Virginia Astley
Fool for Poetry
Thanks to those
Short Story Festival
Short Story Award
World's richest prize
a short story collection,
co-sponsored by the
UCC School of English
Cork City Council.
Seán Ó Faoláin
Thank you to