MLC books

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.




Connect with Munster
Literature Centre
on social media

Munster Literature Centre









Kevin Barry (b. 1969)


Kevin Barry


Kevin Barry was born in Limerick and in recent years has become one of Ireland’s most popular and critically acclaimed authors.  In 2007, Stinging Fly Press published his debut, There Are Little Kingdoms, a collection of short stories which won the Rooney Prize.  A first novel, City of Bohane, followed in 2011, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Irish Book Award, and won the Author’s Club First Novel Prize, the European Prize for Literature and the IMPAC Prize.  In 2012, the collection of short stories, Dark Lies the Island, was published, from which ‘Beer Trip to Llandudno’ won the Sunday Tiimes EFG Short Story Prize, and ‘Fjord of Killary’ was published in The New Yorker.  His latest work is the novel, Beatlebone, published in 2015, which won the Goldsmith’s Prize 2015.  He also edited the short story anthology, Town and Country (Faber & Faber, 2013).  An original screenplay, The Gee Gees, is currently in development at Elemental.  He lives currently in Co. Sligo.


Dan Binchy (b. 1940)


Dan Binchy


Dan Binchy was born in County Limerick in 1940 and is a cousin of well-known Dublin novelist Maeve Binchy.  His novels are The Neon Madonna (London, Century, 1991), The Last Resort (Century, 1992), Fireballs (London, Century, Random House, 1993), and Loopy: A Novel of Golf and Ireland (New York, Thomas Dunne Books, 2005). He has also published the non-fiction work Cover-up: The Disaster at Tuskar Rock (Tralee, Mount Eagle Publications, 2000).  He lives in County Limerick.




Michael Curtin (b. 1942)


Michael Curtin


Michael Curtin was born in Limerick in 1942 and is best known for his novel The Plastic Tomato Cutter (Zondervan, 1991), set in his native city.  He is also the author of the novels The Self-Made Men (Penguin Books, 1980), The Replay (Sphere Books, 1981), The League Against Christmas (HarperCollins, 1989), The Cove Shivering Club (Zondervan, 1996) and Sing (Zondervan, 2001).  The plots of his work tend toward the comic and range from the farcical to the dark and understated.




Gerald Griffin (1803 - 1840)


Gerald Griffin was born in Limerick in 1803 and was primarily a novelist but also wrote plays and poems.  In 1827 came Holland – Tide Tales, a series of eight short stories, followed the same year by Tales of the Munster Festivals.  His next work, The Collegians (1829), based upon a murder which shocked Limerick in 1819, was adapted for the stage under the title Colleen Bawn.  He also wrote the plays Aguire and Gissipus, the latter of which was produced in London in 1842 to great success.  After the publications of Tales of the Jury Room, Rivals, Tracey’s Ambition and The Christian Physiologist, Griffin turned from literature to service of the Church, in 1838 joining the Congregation of Christian Brothers before dying of typhus fever in 1840.  Today Griffin has streets named after him in both Limerick and Cork.




Maeve Kelly (b. 1930)


Maeve Kelly


Maeve Kelly is a novelist, short story writer and poet.  Her publication credits include the novels, Necessary Treasons and Florrie’s Girls, the short story collections, A Life of Her Own and Orange Horses, and the poetry collections, Resolution, Lament for Oona, and A Last Loving: Collected Poems.  She is also the author of a feminist fairytale, Alice in Thunderland, and has been a tireless campaigner for women’s rights since 1974, founding the Limerick Women’s Refuge, Adapt House, and initiating a major work of research in the area of violence against women, Breaking the Silence.  She won a Hennessy Award in 1972 for the story, ‘A Life of Her Own’.  She lives in Limerick.




Marian Keyes (b. 1963 )


Marian Keyes


Marian Keyes was born in Limerick in 1963 and is one of Ireland’s most successful and prolific writers.  Her work includes thirteen bestselling novels: Watermelon (1995), Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married (1996), Rachel’s Holiday (1998), Last Chance Saloon (1999), Sushi for Beginners (2000), Angels (2002), The Other Side of the Story (2004), Anybody Out There? (2006), This Charming Man (2008), The Brightest Star in the Sky (2009), The Mystery of Mercy Close (2012), and The Woman Who Stole My Life (2014).   Contributing regularly to various magazines, she has also published two collections of her journalism, Under The Duvet (2001) and Further Under The Duvet (2005).  Baking cakes became a means of dealing with her own depression and, in 2012, she published Saved By Cake, which combines recipes with autobiography.  Her most recent publication is the collection of essays, Making It All Up As I Go Along (2016).  Sushi for Beginners and Angels were both Sunday Times No1 Bestsellers, and The Other Side of the Story was the second highest selling paperback novel of 2005.  More recently, Anybody Out There? won the British Book Awards award for popular fiction and the Mellissa Nathan Prize for Comedy Romance.  This Charming Man won the Irish Book Award for popular fiction.  Over thirty million copies of her books have been sold to date and they are published in thirty-three languages.  She is currently living in Dun Laoghaire.





Martine Madden


Martine Madden


Martine Madden was born in Limerick and worked in Dublin before moving to the United Arab Emirates with her husband.  Her debut novel, Anyush, was published by Brandon Press and won her the Limerick Literary Festival’s Best New Irish Writer Award.  She lives currently in Midlands Ireland.





Frank McCourt (1930 - 2009)


Frank McCourt


Frank McCourt was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1930 to Irish immigrant parents and raised in Limerick.  A memoirist/novelist, he is author of Angela’s Ashes (1996), ‘Tis (1999), Teacher Man (2005), and Angela and the Baby Jesus (2007).  His awards and accolades are many, receiving the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996), both for Angela’s Ashes, and the Award of Excellence from The International Centre in New York.  Also, in 2002, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario and the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award.  He died in New York in 2009.




Malachy McCourt (b. 1931)


Malachy McCourt


Malachy McCourt is the younger brother of Frank McCourt, with whom he wrote the play, A Couple of Blaguards.  Malachy is the author two memoirs – A Monk Swimming (Hyperion Press), a New York Times bestseller, and Singing My Him Song (Harper Collins).  Running Press have published four books – Danny Boy, a history of the great Irish ballad, The Claddagh Ring, another history, Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland, and Voices of Ireland, a collection of classic writings from Ireland.  His most recent works are Harold Be Thy Name, a light-hearted book for people in recovery, and Bush Lies in State, a collection of essays and performance pieces.




Kate O'Brien (1897 - 1974)


Kate O'Brien


Born in Limerick in 1897, Kate O’Brien is one of Ireland’s most distinguished female novelists.  Her writing career began with the play, Distinguished Villa (1926), after which she turned to the novel.  Her first, Without My Cloak (1931), won both the Hawthornden and James Tait Black prizes.  It was followed by The Ante-Room (1934), Mary Lavelle (1936) and The Land of Spices (1941), the latter two banned under Irish Free State censorship law.  After them came Pray for the Wanderer (1938) and The Last of Summer (1943), both critical of the Irish Free State under de Valera.  Her most successful novel, That lady (1946), followed, which she adapted for Broadway to modest success in 1949.  Flower of May and As Music and Splendour were lesser successes.  She also wrote a biography of the saint Theresa of Avila as well as the travel books Farewell Spain (1937) and My Ireland (1962), documenting her experiences of place, the former causing her to be banned from Franco’s Spain.  She died in 1974 in Canterbury, England.




Clairr O'Connor


Breast by Clairr O'Connor


Clairr O’Connor was born and grew up in Croom, Co. Limerick, and lives now in Dublin.  She is a poet, playwright, short fiction writer and novelist.  Poetry collections by O’Connor are When You Need Them (Salmon, 1989), Breast (Astrolabe, 2004), Trick the Lock (Astrolabe, 2008) and So Far (Astrolabe, 2012).  Her first novel, Belonging (Marino, 1991) was nominated for an Irish Times / Aer Lingus Award.  Her second, Love in Another Room (Attic Press, 1995), was shortlisted for the Listowel Book of the Year Award.  She is the writer of two stage plays, Bodies and House of Correction.  Her radio plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and on RTE Radio 1 and her short stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.




Jerry O'Neill (1921 - 1999)


Jerry O'Neill


Jerry O’Neill was born in Limerick City in 1921 and achieved literary acclaim chronicling the bleak plights of the Irish in London.  His works include the play, God is Dead (1967), and the novels, Open Cut (1986), Duffy is Dead (1988), Canon Bang Bang (1989) - each about the lives of the Irish immigrant labourers - Commissar Connell (1992), and Rellighan, Undertaker (2000).  He died in Limerick in 1999.




Donal Ryan (b. 1976)


Donal Ryan


Donal Ryan was born in Nenagh and lives in Limerick City.  He is the author of two novels and one collection of short stories.  His first novel, The Spinning Heart (2012), won the Guardian First Book Award and was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2013.  It was also the Irish Book Awards’ Book of the Year and, in 2015, earned a European Union Prize for Literature.  His second novel, The Thing About December (2013), (though written before The Spinning Heart), was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.  A Slanting of the Sun (2015) followed, for which Ryan earned the Short Story of Year Award at the Irish Book Awards in 2015.  A new novel, All We Shall Know, will be published later in 2016.




Darren Shan (b. 1972)


Darren Shan


Darren Shan was born in 1972 and grew up in Limerick since the age of six.  Currently living in Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick, he is famed worldwide primarily for his horror fiction for children and young adults, namely the novel series’ The Saga of Darren Shan, consisting of four trilogies of vampire books, and The Demonata, made up of ten books about demons.  Universal Studios bought the film rights for The Vampire Blood Trilogy, the first three books of The Saga, making The Vampire’s Assistant, which came out in cinemas in late 2009.  Shan has also had success in writing novels for adults, primarily with The City Trilogy, made up of Procession of the Dead (2008, but first published as Ayuamarca in 1999), Hell’s Horizon (2000 and republished in 2009), and City of the Snakes, (which is to be published in early 2010).  Following Lady of the Shades (2012), a stand-alone novel for adults, Shan began writing his adult fiction under another pen-name, Darren Dash, to whom Sunburn (2015) and The Evil and the Pure (2014) are credited.  His most recent books for kids and young adults are The Thin Executioner (2010), The Saga of Larten Crepsley, a series of four books from 2010 to 2012, and Zom-B, a series of twelve books published intermittently between 2012 and 2016.  He is the recipient of many awards for his books, including The Redbridge Teenage Book Award (2006) for Lord Loss, the first instalment of The Demonata.  Shan’s books are on sale in 39 countries and in 31 languages, and have been children’s bestsellers in America, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. His books have topped adult bestseller charts in Hungary, Japan and Taiwan. In total, his books have shifted upwards of twenty-five million copies worldwide.







Click below for more Limerick resources:


Literary Limerick and the Cuisle Festival

Limerick Poets

Irish Language Writers from Limerick




Limerick City Arts Services sponsers Literary Limerick pages at the Munster Literature Centre



The Limerick sub-section authored by Edward O'Dwyer. This subsection has been grant-aided by Limerick City Arts Services




Submit to Southword

Poetry 1st Dec - 28th Feb
Fiction 1st Jan - 31 Mar




Fees-free Poetry Workshop

Application Deadline 31 Dec




2021 Publications

Liz Houchin

New Irish Voices no. 6




Southword 41

November 2021




Aneas 2

November 2021




Southword 40

Includes O'Faoláin Prize stories
& O'Donoghue Prize poems




Felicity Sheehy

Fool for Poetry Winner




Vicky Morris

Fool for Poetry Winner




Queer Love

Fiction anthology




YouTube Videos





O'Faoláin Short Story
Prize Reading Playlist




O'Donoghue Poetry
Prize Reading Playlist




How to Write Titles








Cork Events




Essays & Blogs




Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member of






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

Tel. (353) 021 4312955 Email info@munsterlit.ie

Irish Registered Charity No.12374