Frank O'Connor

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


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Fellowship Application

Mentorship Bursaries Application



The Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellowship

In light of the pandemic, the Munster Literature Centre decided to take the extraordinary step of offering the 2020 fellowship to writers living within Munster and a commuting distance from Cork City. This year's fellow is Alannah Hopkin.


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 will 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 a festival and academic context. The successful fellow will receive a monthly stipend of €3000, totalling €9,000.

Duties of the  fellowship

The fellowship requires the writer to be available in Cork for twelve weeks and find time to work on their own writing. Accommodation will not be provided so the appointed fellow must be able to commute to Cork for teaching duties at UCC. The short story fellow will contribute a public reading and a four-day short story masterclass to the Cork International Short Story Festival, which in 2020 will take place in October and be presented online. During their twelve week appointment 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).

Criteria for  Selection

The recipient would be a writer within commuting distance of Cork City.

Fellowship applications are invited from writers working in English. 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 ideal 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 the fellowship, and a course outline for a four morning short story workshop aimed at writers, some of whom might already have periodical publication success, who wish to extend their technical abilities. The workshop is to take place on four consecutive mornings or afternoons of the Cork International Short Story Festival, delivered by Zoom, involving the same group each day. This would be a practical workshop for the festival, not a college course.

Shortisted authors may subsequently need to supply copies of their books and submit to online interview.

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 and one other qualified person.

Deadline for  applications: 3rd August 2020. 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 the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow, Alannah Hopkin, between late October and early December of this year. Each author will benefit from a weekly two-hour contact session with Ms. Hopkin over eight weeks. In the era of Covid the sessions will be conducted by Facetime/Skype unless otherwise arranged.

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 or anthology. The mentorship is also open to authors with books already published who believe they can benefit from this opportunity. Previous recipients of the bursary are unable to apply again.

The successful applicants will be chosen by the fellow. The deadline for applications is 15th September 2020.



2020 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Fellow

Alannah Hopkin

Alannah Hopkin

Alannah Hopkin has been appointed the fifth Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow. Hopkin’s story collection The Dogs of Inishere was published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2017.Her stories have appeared in the London Magazine and The Cork Literary Review, among others, and been short-listed for the RTE Short Story Award. She has published two novels,and worked as a freelance journalist and art critic. Her non-fiction books include Eating Scenery: West Cork, the People & the Place. She regularly hosts events for the Cork International Short Story Festival, the West Cork Literary Festival and Words by Water in her hometown, Kinsale. Her latest book A Very Strange Man: A Memoir of Aidan Higgins is due from New Island in Spring, 2021. 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.

Hopkin will lead a four-day workshop as part of the Cork International Short Story Festival October 7 – 10

Find out more about Hopkin at her website


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.

—Find out more about Bertino at her website

Watch her readings and conversation with Thomas Moore at the 2017 Cork International Short Story Festival here.


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.

—Find out more about Gartner at her website


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!”


Frank O'Connor Award 2005 - 2015


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