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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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Frank O'Connor

The Frank O'Connor International
Short Story Fellowship
and mentorship bursaries


Go to:

Fellowship Application

Mentorship Bursaries Application



The Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellowship

The 2019 Fellow is Sara Maitland. The Munster Literature Centre call for applications for The 2020 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellowship in now open until February 29th, 2020. All applications and replies to applicants will be made through submittable.

The fellowship  is made possible through the very generous sponsorship of Cork City Council (the municipal government). The fellowship follows on from the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and further demonstrates the commitment of the  Munster Literature Centre and Cork City Council to the international short story  community. Named for one of Cork’s most renowned writers, it acknowledges the  special place the short story form occupies in the cultural history and  contemporary practice of the city.

Benefits of  the fellowship to the successful writer

The successful fellow would benefit from the prestige of  receiving a highly competitive international literary award which will not only  allow the candidate to spend time concentrating on their own work but also  acquiring more experience in literary mentoring and teaching writing in an  academic context. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to be  inspired by living in one of Europe’s oldest cities with a well-developed  cultural infrastructure and a thriving literary community. The successful fellow  would receive a monthly stipend of €2500, totalling €7,500 and self-catering  accommodation. Economy flights between the author's country of residence and Cork will also be covered.

Duties of the  fellowship

The fellowship requires the writer to reside in Cork for  twelve weeks and find time to work on their own writing. The short story fellow  would arrive in September when they would contribute a public reading and a four-morning short story masterclass to the Cork International Short Story Festival.  During their twelve week stay they will provide  a 5-credit workshop with the creative writing department of University College Cork. Their mentoring duties will consist of devoting two hours each, per week, to two Cork writers over eight weeks (32 hours total).  They will  be welcomed into the literary social life of the city where they will have the  opportunity to network with resident established writers. They would present a  farewell public reading at the Boole Library of University College  Cork.

Criteria for  Selection

The recipient would be a writer from outside Ireland of  international standing. 

Fellowship applications are invited from writers working  in English from outside Ireland. Writers who work in another language whose work  is freely available in English translation and who are fluent in English  themselves are also welcome to apply.

The Short Story Fellow must have at least two full-length  works of fiction published, of which at least one must be a short story collection. The successful candidate will be a writer respected by peers, with  experience in the coaching or teaching of other writers either through workshops  and/or mentoring inside or outside a formal academic setting.

Submission Guidelines

Candidates  must supply through Submittable a single Word document consisting of a literary  CV, a letter explaining why they want to work in Cork, and a course outline for  a four morning short story masterclass aimed at writers who already have  periodical publication success. The masterclass is to take place on four  consecutive mornings of the Cork International Short Story Festival involving  the same group each day. Shortisted authors may subsequently need to  supply copies of their books and submit to interview by Skype. 

Process of  Selection

A shortlist of up to a dozen candidates  will be selected by the Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre and  subsequently assessed by a panel consisting of the Artistic Director of the  Munster Literature Centre, the head of creative writing at the School of English at University College Cork and an Irish writer who is a member of Aosdana. 

Deadline for  applications for the Autumn 2020 fellowship is February 29th, 2020. The successful fellow will be  informed by mid-May. All applications and replies to applicants will be made through submittable.


Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries

This is an opportunity for two Cork fiction writers to be mentored by Ms. Maitland during October and November of this year (2019). Each author will benefit from a weekly two-hour contact session with Ms. Maitland over eight weeks.

To qualify you must be a writer resident in Cork City or resident in County Cork and engaging with the literary community of the city. You must have had at least one short story published in a reputable literary journal. The mentorship is also open to authors with books already published who believe they can benefit from this opportunity.

The successful applicants will be chosen by Ms. Maitland. Deadline for applications is August 18th, 2019.

Full applicataion requirements at Submittable



2019 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Fellow

Sara Maitland


Sara Maitland has been appointed the fourth Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow. Maitland is a British writer of religious fantasy. A novelist, she is also known for her short stories. Her work has a magic realist tendency. She has published seven novels and seven collections of short stories. Ms. Maitland will reside in Cork for three months in an apartment and receive a monthly stipend. She will contribute to the programme of the Cork International Short Story Festival, teach at the Creative Writing Department at UCC and mentor two local emerging writers. The fellowship is devised and managed by the Munster Literature Centre and generously funded by Cork City Council.

- Find out more about Maitland at her website


2018 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Fellow

Caries Davies

Carey Davids

Carys Davies has been appointed the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow for 2018. The Fellowship, an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre, is funded by Cork City Council and is in its third year. Ms. Davies is a former winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, winning for her second collection The Redemption of Galen Pike. Her novel West is being published by Scribners in the USA and by Granta in the UK. Ms Davies will take up a three month residency in Cork City in September. She will contribute readings to the Cork International Short Story Festival and other events. Ms Davies will give workshops at the festival and at the School of English, University College Cork. She will choose two Cork-based emerging writers to mentor. The Fellow is provided with accommodation and a stipend.

- Find out more about Davies at her website
- Read this article in the Guardian about her short story collection The Redemption of Galen Pike, winner of the 2015 Frank O'Connor award
- Find out about Davies' forthcoming novel being published by Granta in May of this year.

Watch her readings and conversation with Danny Denton at the 2018 Cork International Short Story Festival here:



2017 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Fellow

Marie-Helene Bertino


The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce that Marie-Helene Bertino has been selected as the 2017 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow. Marie-Helene Bertino’s debut novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT'S PAJAMAS was a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick and a Best Book of 2014 from NPR, Buzzfeed, and many others. It is currently available in the UK, Turkey, Sweden, France, and Brazil. Her collection of short stories SAFE AS HOUSES was the recipient of The Iowa Short Fiction Award (judged by Jim Shepard), named an Outstanding Collection by The Story Prize and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize. Other awards include the O. Henry Prize, a Pushcart Prize and two Pushcart special mentions, Mississippi Review's Story Prize, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook Writers Colony, and NYC’s The Center for Fiction. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, Guernica, American Short Fiction, Gigantic, Gunzo (Japan), Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, and many others. She has been featured on Symphony Space NYC’s “Selected Shorts” radio program and lives in Brooklyn, where she was the Associate Editor for One Story for six years and is currently Editor-at-Large at Catapult. She teaches at NYU and is a faculty member of the low-residency MFA program at Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM.

For more information, please visit: www.mariehelenebertino.com


the 2016 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Fellow

Zsuzsi Gartner

Zsuzsi Gartner

It was determined that the lead-in time between the establishment of the fellowship and the appointment of the first fellow in 2016 was too short for an open-call process so the 2016 fellow was a straight appointment by the Artistic Director, Patrick Cotter. The prize-winning Canadian author Zsuzsi Gartner was the inaugural Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow. Ms Gartner is the author of two highly-praised short story collections All the Anxious Girls on Earth (Key Porter, 1999) and Better Living through Plastic Explosives (Hamish Hamilton Canada, 2011). She also edited the short story anthology Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow which contained specially commissioned new work by many of Canada’s leading writers. Ms Gartner has extensive experience as a journalist, of serving on literary juries, teaching creative writing in and outside universities and privately mentoring many of Canada’s prize-winning young novelists and short story authors.


Note: The first two Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries were awarded to Marie Gethins of Passage West, Cork, and David Brennan of Cork City. The two runners-up were Eimear Ryan of Cork, and Micheál Ó Siocháin of Charleville, Co. Cork.

Marie GethinsMarie Gethins’ work has fea­tured in The Irish Times, 2014/15/16 National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, NANO, Litro, The Lonely Crowd,Wales Arts Review, The Incubator, Firewords Quarterly and others. She won or placed in The Short Story, Tethered by Letters, Flash500, Dromineer Literary Festival, Kanturk Arts, The New Writer, Prick of the Spindle and 99fiction.net. Other pieces listed in From The Well, Boulevard Emerging Writers, Bath Short Story Award, Bristol Short Story Prize, Fish Short Story/Flash/Memoir, James Plunkett, Listowel Writers Week Originals, Inktears, Over the Edge, WOW! Award, and RTE/Penguin com­pe­ti­tions. Marie is a Pushcart, Best of the Short Fictions, and British Screenwriters Award Nominee. She is completing her Master of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford and lives with her family in Glenbrook, Cork.

David BrennanIn 2014 David returned to Ireland after living in Japan for 12 years. He currently lives in Cork. In the last year he has been short listed for the Doolin Short Story award, the Curtis Bausse Short story award and long listed for the Fish Memoire prize. He has also published stories and poems in Memoryhouse, The Ogham Stone, Crabfat and Jungle Crows (a Tokyo anthology). He is currently working on a collection of stories, a novel or two, and a few other things! 

They were chosen by Cork’s inaugural Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow, Canada’s Zsuzsi Gartner, who will be taking up her position in Cork on September 1st  for three months. Ms Gethins and Mr. Brennan will have the chance to work on one-on-one with Ms Gartner.

“Both of these writers demonstrated a strong personal style and voice, as well as a subversive sense of humour,” said Ms Gartner. “They appear to be dedicated to exploring the short story form in its infinite variety of possibilities.”

“That said, it was such a tremendously difficult decision to chisel the superb short list down to only two writers,” she added, “although it wasn’t at all a chore at all to read any of the entries, which were deliciously varied and offered up a broad range of narrative delights.”

In fact, Ms Gartner found the applicants so accomplished that she wished to acknowledge two runners-up as well as encourage all the short-listed applicants to try again in 2017.

“I look very much look forward to my time in Cork, with its rich literary history, and, if the Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries are any indication, an exciting literary future. And the food, of course, I’m licking my lips thinking about the food!”


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2019 Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Deadline: November 30th




Subscribe to Southword
Issue 38 launch: September




The Cork International
Short Story Festival
Sept 25 - 28, 2019




Southword Editions




Recent Youtube Uploads:

Leanne O'Sullivan - Poetry

Carys Davies - Short Story



Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member of

words ireland


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