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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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Literature Centre
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Munster Literature Centre








2018 John Montague International Poetry Fellowship & Bursaries

2018 John Montague Fellow Sandra Beasley

The American poet, Sandra Beasley, has been appointed 2019 John Montague International Poetry Fellow. The fellowship is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre and funded by University College Cork. It's named to honour the great Irish poet John Montague who lived in Cork and taught at UCC for many years. Ms Beasley will reside in Cork for three months, where she will have the opportunity to concentrate on her own writing as well as contribute in numerous ways to the literary life of the city. She will read and present workshops at the Cork International Poetry Festival, mentor two up and coming Cork poets and teach at the Creative Writing Department of the School of English, at University College Cork.


John Montague Mentorship Bursaries

There is the opportunity for two Cork poets to be mentored by Ms. Beasley between February and April of 2019. Each poet will benefit from a weekly two-hour contact session with Ms Beasley over eight weeks. Applications can be sent through Submittable. Deadline January 13th 2019.




Autumn Fiction Workshop

Running over four consecutive Tuesdays November 6th - 27th

Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: The Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork
Class size: Maximum of twelve
Cost: €120 or €100 (concession to unwaged)
Course Leader: Alannah Hopkin




Competition Deadlines!

fiction chapbook competition

Submit 10,000 -15,000 words which can consist of a novella, a long short story, several short stories, a collection of flash fiction, or a mix of stories and flash. 
--Deadline October 31st 2018

Click here for full submission guidelines and prize information!

Follow the competition's Facebook page



Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

Submit original, unpublished poems in the English language of 40 lines maximum. The poem can be on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.
--Deadline November 30th 2018

Click here for full submission guidelines and prize information!

Follow the competition's Facebook page




Culture Night events

from the Munster Literature Centre

Friday 21st September

John Fitzgerald, Roisin Kelly, Bernadette McCarthy, Paul McMahon, John Mee, Gerry Murphy and James O’Leary are poets living and working in Cork. They will share serious poems, humorous poems, poems about love, politics, grief and much more, from short collections they have published in recent years.

The seven poets will perform for free at three locations, at Nano Nagle Place on Douglas Street, at the corner of Barrack Street and Kevin Street and on Nano Nagle Bridge at Grand Parade.


5.00pm Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street

James O'Leary and Bernadette McCarthy


6.00pm Corner of Barrack Street & Kevin Street

John Mee and Paul McMahon


7.00pm Nano Nagle Bridge, Grand Parade

John Fitzgerald, Roisin Kelly and Gerry Murphy




Announcing the winner of the 2018 Sean O'Faolain International Short Story Competition!

Visit corkshortstory.net/awards for news of the 1st Place Winner, Second Place Winner, and four runners up




12 - 15 September

Cork International Short Story Festival website now live - view our full programme of events here to book tickets and register for workshops





Southword – New International Writing

Issue 35 available now!

Southword 35

To mark its return as an exclusively print publication you can now subscribe and get Southword delivered direct to your door - click here for details




Seán O'Faoláin International Short Story Competition - entries closing July 31st

Word limit: 3,000 words
Closing date: Tuesday the 31st of July (midnight)
Entry fee: €15 per story

We're on the countdown to the Seán O'Faoláin compeition deadline. You have until the end of the month to send us your story, the one you need the world to see - on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. Find further information and guidelines here.


Watch Louise Nealon reading her winning story from last year's competition at the 2017 Cork International Short Story Festival.



Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries

Two Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries which consist of fees-free mentoring by the Frank O’Connor International Fellow. Eligible applicants must be resident in Cork (city or county) and contributing to the literary life of the city. Applications for the Mentorship Bursaries are open until June 30th 2018.

More information here

Apply here




Free readings Saturday June 23rd 3pm & 4.30pm

Join us on St. John’s Eve as we usher in Bonna Night with tales, verse, and song from Thomas McCarthy, Danielle McLaughlin, Gerry Murphy, Billy O’Callaghan, and John Spillane. Readings will take place at Elizabeth Fort at 3pm and at 4.30pm. This event is aimed at adults and children alike!

Click here to see the Facebook event page




Innagural Southword Fiction Chapbook Competition

Two winners, Best Irish Entry and Best International Entry, will recieve a chapbook publication (made available internationally through Amazon), 20 complimentary copies of their chapbook, and advances of 250 euro each.

We are looking for 10,000 -15,000 words which can consist of a novella, a long short story, several short stories, a collection of flash fiction, or a mix of stories and flash. Deadline October 31st 2018.

Click here for full submission guidelines

Follow the competition's Facebook page




Announcing 2018 Poetry & Fiction Workshops


The Art of Poetry: Summer Poetry Workshop Series

Running over five consecutive Saturdays June 30th - July 28th

Time: 11am to 1pm
Venue: The Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork
Class size: Maximum of ten
Cost: €120 or €100 (concession to unwaged)
Course Leader: Patrick Cotter


Summer Fiction Workshop

Running over four consecutive Saturdays August 4th - 25th

Time: 11am to 1pm
Venue: The Munster Literature Centre, 84 Douglas Street, Cork
Class size: Maximum of ten
Cost: €120 or €100 (concession to unwaged)
Course Leader: Billy O'Callaghan




Southword Issue 34
May 2018

issue 34 banner
Featuring winning poems and highly commended poems from the Greogory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition and more




Cork World Book Fest 

Mon 23 - Sat 28 April

Cork World Book Fest 2018 promises to be one of the best yet with a fantastic lineup of contributors from a variety of genres. There is a wide variety of events on offer for this year’s festival, including poetry events, readings and an art installation by Cork Community Art Link and the children of St. Maries of the Isle Primary School. Visit www.corkworldbookfest.com for more information.

Click here to view the 2018 programme of events




Matthew Sweeney’s My Life as a Painter Launch 25th April at Cork City Library

Matthew Sweeney photo

Matthew Sweeney’s palette in My Life as a Painter, his twelfth collection, features a wild mix of birds and animals: lizards, snakes, rats, camels, donkeys, feral cats, dogs and owls. One dog transmits telepathic requests for the food he wants, and there’s a parrot who speaks as ambassador for the bird world. Sweeney’s canvas here is the transhuman: where boundaries between human and non-human can’t be fixed, dreams turn into torments, secrets stay hidden, strange communiqués remain unclear, and the natural weirdness of his native Donegal verges on the surreal.




Upcoming Southword Editions Chapbooks Launch 26th April at Cork City Library

Book Covers

My Life as a Stalinist by Gerry Murphy and There are Monsters in this House by James O'Leary

The Munster Literature Centre invites you to this occasion to mark new publications by two Cork poets at 5.30pm on Thursday 26th April 2018. The event takes place in the Grand Parade City Library as part of the Cork World Book Fest. The poets will read a short selection from each of their chapbooks, which will be on sale for €5. Admission is free and wine and refreshments will be available.




Words Ireland @ ILFDublin:

A National Day for Writers

Words Ireland Conference

On Friday 25 May, Words Ireland is hosting a national get together for writers at IMMA in partnership with the International Literature Festival Dublin

Words Ireland is creating the ideal environment for writers - a conference where writers will gather together, reflect on their creative and professional practice, catch up with industry leaders and be inspired.

There’ll be events throughout the day, including writers’ manifestos, interviews, writers meetings and project presentations, industry insight, discussion and debate from over thirty speakers. It will be a day of information and inspiration to help you sustain and evolve your writing life.

Also, in the Great Hall at IMMA, you can sit down and chat with 40 literature organisations to find out about creative and professional opportunities, catch up with old friends and colleagues or meet new ones. There’ll be an opportunity for 10 writers to pitched published work to 10 film directors too.

Early-bird tickets are on sale now: €45 for the day, or €120 for groups of three writers (tell a writer friend!).  Ticket price includes lunch, teas and coffees, and closing drinks reception from Kinnegar Brewing. Click here for full details and booking.

Participating writers and presenters include:

Anne Enright | John Boyne | Kit de Waal | Stephen James Smith | Alan Titley | Selina Tusitala Marsh Paul McVeigh | Dani Gill | Julia Bird | Mia Gallagher | Mark O’Connell | Angela Nagle | Ashleigh Young | Sarah Webb | Oisín McGann | Sheena Wilkinson | Christodoulos Makris | Suzanne Walsh | Nathan O’Donnell | Paul Perry | Susan McKay | Damian O’Donnell | Freya McClements | Declan Meade | Julia Churchill | Andre Breedt | Neil Belton | Sarah Bannan | Marcella Bannon | Jo Mangan | Michael O’Reilly




Meet the 2018 Frank O'Connor fellow
Carys 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.




The 2018 Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition is now open for entries!




Announcing the results of the 2018 Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Competition

1st Prize: Robert Lipton of Richmond, California for his poem
                'Official Story'
2nd Prize: Majella Kelly of Tuam, Galway for her poem
                'Portrait of the City with Masectomy'
3rd Prize: Kim Addonizio of Oakland, Claifornia for her poem 
                'Black Hour Blues'

Read the shortlist



Southword Issue 33

Featuring the story that won the Sean O Faoláin prize by Louise Nealon as well as poetry by Matthew Sweeney, Eileen Sheehan and Stephen Sexton, reviews by Clíona Ní Riordáin and Matthew Geden and much more.





The Munster Literature Centre is a not-for-profit organisation; all moneys raised from the competition benefits writers and writing.



Previous articles and information available on the Archives page.



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Subscribe to Southword!


The Southword Fiction
Chapbook Competition

DEADLINE 31st October 2018


The Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

DEADLINE 30th November 2018

Visit our Youtube channel



Southword Editions

on sale in
our bookstore

including Fool For Poetry
winners, the New Irish
Voices series & more


The Cork International
Poetry Festival 2019

Wednesday March 20-
Saturday March 23 2019


The Cork International
Short Story Festival


Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition

Read the 2017 winning story by Louise Nealon



The Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition



2018 Fellow Carys Davies

Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship



Words Ireland

The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland


Poetry International

Recent additions:

Michelle O'Sullivan
Paddy Bushe
Doireann Ní Gríofa
Paul Casey





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