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
Máire Bradshaw is from Limerick and is best known as the publisher and managing director of Bradshaw Books, which began as the Cork Women’s Poetry Circle in 1985. In 1991 she was commissioned to write the presidential poem for the inauguration of Mary Robinson as the first female president of Ireland. Her other poetry credits include Instinct (1988), Eurydice (1992), and L’Imaginaire Irlandais (1998). She also has worked extensively as an editor.
Mary Coll is a poet, playwright and broadcaster from Limerick. She is a regular contributor to RTE Radio One and RTE Lyric FM and has had radio plays commissioned by RTE Drama on One. She is the author of two collections of poems, All Things Considered (Salmon, 2002) and Silver (Salmon, 2016). Her plays, Excess Baggage (2007) and Anything But Love (2010) were produced at the Belltable Arts Centre in Limerick and, most recently, Diamond Rocks: Sunset (2014), was commissioned by the Lime Tree Theatre.
Tim Cunningham (b. 1942)
Tim Cunningham was born in Limerick City in 1942 and is currently living in Billericay. His first collection of poetry, Don Marcelino’s Daughter was published in 2001 by Peterloo Poets and has been reprinted twice since, in 2002 and 2004. It has been followed by Unequal Thirds (2006), again from Peterloo, and Kyrie (2009), published by Revival Press—the imprint of the White House Poets. He has published three more books with Revival Press – Siege (2012, consisting of new work and selections from his previous three books), Almost Memories (2014), and The Lyrics to the Nightingale’s Song (2016, honouring the memory of Cunningham’s father, who was born in 1916). In 2012 he was the recipient of a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship. Though he no longer lives in Limerick City, Cunningham is a very regular visitor, and any reader of his poetry could not notice that he is utterly in love with the city.
Tom Henihan (b. 1942)
Tom Henihan was born in Limerick City and emigrated to Canada in 1982. He was resident at the Leighton Artists’ studios at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1995, 1997 and 1998. His first poetry collection, Between the Streets, was published in 1992. His second, A Mortar of Seeds, from Ekstasis Editions, was nominated for a Writer’s Guild of Alberta Award in 1998. In 2002 came a hand-printed, limited edition third, Almost Forgotten, with Frog Hollow Press, for which he subsequently became poetry editor. Later in 2002, came a fourth collection, A Further Exile, and a fifth, After the Ritual, in 2006, both from Ekstasis Editions. He currently lives between Southern Alberta and Vancouver Island.
Michael D. Higgins (b. 1941)
Michael D. Higgins is from Limerick and is best known as the ninth and current President of Ireland, which he became in 2011. He has also written four collections of poetry – The Betrayal (Salmon Poetry, 1990), The Season of Fire (Brandon, 1993), An Arid Season (Brandon, 2004), and New And Selected Poems (Liberties Press, 2011). He has also written two books of non-fiction and essays – Causes for Concern (Liberties Press, 2007) and Renewing the Republic (Liberties Press, 2011).
Michael Hogan (1828 - 1899)
Michael Hogan was born in Thomondgate, Limerick, and his become popularly known as ‘The Bard of Thomond’. His first published works appeared in The Anglo-Celt, The Irishman, The Nation, The Munster News and The Limerick Leader. His first volume, Lays and Legends of Thomond, was published in Limerick in 1861, and a significantly larger version was published in Dublin under the same name in 1867. He turned to writing satirical verses lampooning prominent figures, a series which achieved enormous circulation. A life-size statue was erected in his memory in 2005 outside King John’s Castle in Limerick City.
Ger Killeen (b. 1960)
Born in Limerick in 1960, Ger Killeen’s poetry collections are A Trace of Exaggeration (McKerns, 1985), Construction Ahead (Sparrow Press, Sparrow Poverty Pamphlet Series: no. 56, 1989), A Wren (Bluestem Press, 1990), which won the Bluestem Award for Poetry, Lia A Léimfidh Thar Tonnta: A Stone That Will Jump Over The Waves (Trask House Books, 1999), and Signs Following (Parlor Press, 2005). He is also the editor of Continental Drift and was a winner in 2006 of the Gertrude Stein Award for Poetry. He now lives in Oregon, USA and is Professor of Humanities at Marylhurst University.
Mae Leonard is a poet and short-story writer from Limerick, now living in Co. Kildare. She is a member of Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools programme. For many years she has been broadcast regularly on RTE Radio One’s Sunday Miscellany programme. Her awards include the Gerard Manley Hopkins Poetry Award and the Cecil Day Lewis Award for her collection Six for Gold (1988), Scottish International Poetry Awards, The Golden Pen, the Francis McManus Short Story Prize and the Belmont Prize for Children’s Poetry. I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, a collection of poetry, was published by Doghouse in 2011. Her collection for children This is Tarzan Clancy (1986) was published by Cill Dara Writers Club. My Home Is There (1998), My Home Is There 2 (2012), My Home Is There 3 (2015) are collections of radio pieces and stories about Limerick, and published by The Limerick Writers' Centre.
John Liddy (b. 1954)
John Liddy grew up in the Rathbane area of Limerick and is currently living in Madrid. With Jim Burke he is founding editor of the literary journal The Stony Thursday Book in 1975, and has edited bilingual issues with his brother Liam and Miguel Ortega. He has published eight collections of poetry, including Boundaries (1974), The Angling Cot (1991), Song of the Empty Cage (1997), Wine and Hope (1999), and Cast-A-Net (2003). His most recent collections of poetry – The Well: New and Selected Poems (2007), Gleanings (2010), and The Secret Heart of Things (2014) are published by Revival Press — the imprint of the Limerick Writers’ Centre. He was appointed Writer in Residence for July during Limerick City of Culture 2014.
Seán Lysaght (b. 1957 )
Seán Lysaght was born in 1957 in Limerick. His first collection of poetry, Noah’s Irish Ark, was published in 1989, followed by The Clare Island Survey (Gallery, 1991). A study of the life and writings of Robert Lloyd Praeger, Robert Lloyd Praeger: The Life of a Naturalist, was published in 1998 by Four Courts Press. Three more poetry collections followed from Gallery: Scarecrow (1998), Erris (2002), and The Mouth of a River (2007). In 2007 he was awarded the O’Shaughnessy Award for poetry. Venetian Epigrams, translations of Goethe, appeared in 2008, also from Gallery, followed by Selected Poems (2010) and Carnival Masks (2014). Under his own imprint, he published Spenser, a verse narrative of the life of Edmund Spenser, in 2011. He lives currently in Westport, Co. Mayo.
Catherine Phil MacCarthy (b. 1954 )
Catherine Phil MacCarthy was born in 1954, and grew up in Crecora, Co. Limerick. Her poetry collections include How High the Moon (Poetry Ireland, Sense of Place Award, 1991, a joint book), This Hour of the Tide (Salmon, 1994), the blue globe (Blackstaff, 1998), and Suntrap, (Blackstaff, 2007). She has also published the novel One Room an Everywhere (2003). Her latest poetry collection is The Invisible Threshold (2012), which was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award in 2013. She was awarded bursaries in poetry from the Arts Council in 1994, 1999 and 2007/8. Awards to her name include The Fish Poetry Prize, the Dromineer Literary Festival Poetry Prize, and the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. Anthology publications include Opening Eyes (Cambridge UP, 2009), Text (Celtic Press, 2008), Women Poets Writing in English (Seren Press, 2008), Field Day Anthology of Literature V (2002), Jumping Off Shadows (Cork UP, 1996), and Windharp: Poems of Ireland Since 1916. She is a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review.
Maighread Medbh is from Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick, living currently in Dublin. She is known best as a poet, but has also written several novels. Her debut collection of poems, The Making of a Pagan, appeared in 1990 from Blackstaff Press. This was followed by Tenant Salmon Poetry, 1999), Split (Arlen House, 2003), When the Air Inhales You (Arlen House, 2008), and Twelve Beds for the Dreamer (Arlen House, 2010). Pagan to the Core (Arlen House, 2014) is her latest book, an enhanced edition of her debut collection, featuring eighteen new poems. In 2013, Dedalus Press published Savage Solitude: Reflections of a Reluctant Loner, an exploration, through prose, aphorism and poetry, of how to be alone.
Teri Murray has been living in Limerick for many years as a poet, editor, novelist and playwright. Her fifth and latest poetry collection, Under a Linnet’s Wing, was published under her own imprint, and is preceded by Where the Daghda Dances: New and Selected Poems (Revival Press, 2010), Coddle and Tripe (Stonebridge, 1998), a joint book with her partner, the late Limerick poet Liam Mulligan, Poems from the Exclusion Zone (Stonebridge, 2001), and The Authority of Winter (Stonebridge, 2007). Other notable works include A Time Under Heaven, her play about the history of Limerick, staged at the Belltable in 1996, and a book for children, Eddy the Teddy and the Big Fat Nana, in 2003. Murray was editor for Scratches on the Wall, an anthology of Limerick writers from Tholsel Press, 1995, and is anthologised in such publications as If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (Dedalus Press, 2014), Dream of a City: An Anthology of Poetry from Limerick City of Culture 2014 (Astrolabe Press, 2014), and I Live in Michael Hartnett (Revival Press, 2013).
Clairr O’Connor was born and grew up in Croom, Co. Limerick, living now in Dublin, and is a poet, playwright and novelist. Poetry collections by Clairr are When You Need Them (Salmon, 1989), Breast (Astrolabe, 2004) and Trick the Lock (Astrolabe, 2008). 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. 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.
Ciaran O'Driscoll (b. 1943)
Born in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, Ciaran O’Driscoll has been resident long-term with his family in Limerick City. He is a committee member of Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival. Starting with Gog and Magog (1987), he has published eight collections of poetry, including Moving On, Still There: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2001), and more recently, Surreal Man (Pighog, 2006), Vecchie Donne di Magione (Volumnia Editrice, 2006), which is a dual language edition of poems, and Life Monitor (Three Spires Press, 2009). In 2001, a childhood memoir, A Runner Among Falling Leaves, was published (Liverpool University Press). Swirl, a CD of him reading some of his poems to musical accompaniment, was released in 2009. A first novel, A Year’s Midnight, is his latest publication, appearing in 2012. Awards for his work include a Bursary in Literature from the Arts Council, the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry, and the James Joyce Prize. He is a member of Aosdána.
Desmond O'Grady (b. 1935)
Desmond O’Grady was born in Limerick 1935, currently living in Kinsale, Co. Cork, and is among the most major figures of modern Irish poetry. During his life he has taught literature courses in Paris, Rome and the States. His sixteen collections of poetry are: Chords and Orchestrations (Limerick, 1956), Reilly (London, 1961), Separazoni (Rome, 1965), The Dark Edge of Europe (London, MacGibbon & Kee, 1967), The Dying Gaul (MacGibbon & Kee, 1968), Hellas (Dublin, 1971), Separations (Dublin, 1973), Stations (Cairo, 1976), Sing Me Creation (Gallery Press, 1977), The Headgear of the Tribe (Gallery Press, 1979), The Skaldcrane’s Nest (Gallery Press, 1979), Alexandria Notebook (Dublin, 1989), Tipperary (Salmon, 1991), My Fields This Springtime (Lapwing Press, 1993), The Road Taken, Poems 1956-1996 (Poetry Salzburg, 1996), The Wandering Celt (Dedalus Press, 2001), and On My Way (Dedalus Press, 2006). His translations include Off Licence (Dublin, 1968), The Gododdin (Dolmen Press, 1977), A Limerick Rake (Gallery Press, 1978), Grecian Glances (Cambridge MA, 1981), The Seven Arab Odes (Agenda, 1980), Ten Modern Arab Poets (Dublin, 1992), Alternative Manners (Alexandria, 1993), Trawling Tradition. Translations 1954 - 1994 (Poetry Salsburg,1994), and CP Cavafy, Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 1999). In 1960 he was a founder member of the European Community of Writers in Rome. He is a member of Aosdána.
Jo Slade is both a painter and poet living in Limerick, where she has been County Council Writer-in-Residence. Slade is the author of six books of poems, including the French / English collection, Certain Octobers, published in France (Quimper, 1997). Her three full collections are published by Salmon: In Fields I Hear Them Sing (1989), The Vigilant One (1994, a nominee for an Irish Times / Aer Lingus Award), City of Bridges (2005), and The Painter’s House (2013). A chapbook (The Artist’s Room, 2010) has just been published by Pighog Press, based in Brighton, England. In 2014, she was joint winner of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award.
Mark Whelan (b.1960)
Mark Whelan was born in Limerick in 1960 and with Paul Sweeney was instrumental both in the establishment of what is now known as Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival, of which he is a committee member, and in the revival of The Stony Thursday Book literary journal, for which he was editor of four editions. His collections of poetry are Scarecrow Dyptich (Anam, Press, 2003), Pushing The Pull Door (Revival Press, 2008, with illustrations by Limerick artist John Shinnors), and The Seer of Wounds (Doghouse, 2012).
Click below for more Limerick resources:
Literary Limerick and the Cuisle Festival
Irish Language Writers from Limerick
The Limerick sub-section authored by Edward O'Dwyer. This subsection has been grant-aided by Limerick City Arts Services
The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland.
Short Story Fellowship
being accepted for
Fool for Poetry
2016 winners announced!
at the MLC
Seán Ó Faoláin
2016 winners announced
Fool For Poetry
& Victor Tapner
Annually in spring.
Short Story Festival
Annually in September
Southword Issue 30
New issue, free to read online.