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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









Tim Cunningham (b. 1942)


Tim Cunningham


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 Pressthe imprint of the White House Poets.




Tom Henihan (b. 1942)


Tom Henihan


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.




Ger Killeen (b. 1960)


Ger Killeen


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

mae leonard


Mae Leonard is a poet, children’s writer 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, Francis McManus Short Story Competition 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 was published by Cill Dara Writers Club, and her book My Home Is There 2, a collection of radio pieces about Limerick, was published by The Limerick Writers' Centre.






John Liddy (b. 1954)


The Well by John Liddy



John Liddy was born in Youghal, Co. Cork in 1954, but 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 six collections of poetry: Boundaries (1974), The Angling Cot (1991), Song of the Empty Cage (1997), Wine and Hope (1999), Cast-A-Net (2003) and The Well: New and Selected Poems (1997), the last of which was published by Revival Press the imprint of the White House Poets.




Seán Lysaght (b. 1957 )


Seán Lysaght


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.




Catherine Phil MacCarthy (b. 1954 )


Catherine Phil MacCarthy


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). 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, Bantry 2010. 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), and Jumping Off Shadows (Cork UP), 1996. She is a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review.




Terri Murray



Where the Dagdha Dances by Teri Murray



Teri Murray has been living in Limerick for many years as a poet, editor, novelist and playwright.  Her fourth poetry collection, Where the Daghda Dances: New and Selected Poems, was published most recently (Revival Press, 2010), preceded by 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 current editor of the Revival journal, Limerick’s poetry quarterly.




Clairr O'Connor


Breast by Clairr O'Connor


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)


Ciaran O'Driscoll


Born in Callan, Co. Kilkenny in 1943, Ciaran O’Driscoll has been living in Limerick for twenty-three years, where he lectures in art, literature and media at the School of Art and Design (Limerick Institute of Technology). 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) and Vecchie Donne di Magione (Volumnia Editrice, 2006), which is a dual language edition of poems. 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. 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


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



Jo Slade



Jo Slade studied Art and Design at the Limerick and National Colleges of Art and Design.  A painter and poet living in Limerick, where she has been County Council Writer-in-Residence, Slade is the author of five 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), and City of Bridges (2005).  A chapbook (The Artist’s Room, 2010) has just been published by Pighog Press, based in Brighton, England.




Mark Whelan (b.1960)



Mark Whelan, Literary Limerick



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. Involved in just about every poetry event in Limerick, his collections are Scarecrow Dyptich (2003), from Anam Press, with illustrations by John Shinnors, and Pushing The Pull Door (2008), from Revival Pressthe imprint of the White House Poets.






Click below for more Limerick resources:


Literary Limerick and the Cuisle Festival

Limerick Novelists

Irish Language Writers from Limerick




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



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







Words Ireland

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




Writing Workshops
at the MLC

Leanne O'Sullivan

Poetry with
Leanne O'Sullivan
begins 21 October




O'Donoghue Poetry

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Now open
for entries.




Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

10 - 13 February




Southword Issue 28

Southword Journal

New issue, free to read online.




Southword Publications

Victoria Kennefick

Newest books:

Fool For Poetry
chapbooks by
Victoria Kennefik
& Virginia Astley



Poetry International

Recent additions:

Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn,
Brendan Cleary,
Eleanor Hooker
& more





Fool for Poetry


Now closed.
Thanks to those
who entered!



The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival




Frank O'Connor
Short Story Award

2015 Laureate:
Carys Davies

Carys Davies

World's richest prize for
a short story collection,
co-sponsored by the
UCC School of English
Cork City Council

Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Now closed!
Thank you to
everyone who



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