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Welcome to the Munster

Literature Centre

Founded in 1993, the Munster Literature Centre (Tigh Litríochta) 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 2006.

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 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 Éigse festival in the spring of each year.

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.





Pocket Apocalypse

Pocket Apocalypse
Southword Editions, 2005.
Poems by Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska. Translated from Polish by Gerry Murphy.

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Here is a Polish poet working well beyond the shadows of Milosz and Herbert. She searches out material in the sacred and the profane and mines both with considerable skill. A generous streak of dark wit is evident even in the least likely of places. After all, anyone who edited a magazine entitled "Temperance and Hard Work" has to have a healthy sense of the absurd. --Gerry Murphy


What the critics have said:

"Borun-Jagodzinska, ably translated with a light touch by Gerry Murphy, has followed Piotr Sommer out of the intensive lyricism and complex Imagism traditional to Polish poetry into the pared-back, post-American style." -The Irish Times


Selected Poems from Pocket Apocalypse



(for A.B.)


In catastrophes

our letters are lost,

as if the postman

could save us…


In a dark room

tenderness yellows with age –

the very letters you carried out

of the burning refinery.




Othello’s First Book


Which came first?

The bitter seed or the shadowy tree?

Bitterness can prepare the way for sweetness,

though the tart seed permeates the apple.

A green-eyed monster already awake,

a worm turning just under the skin.

Love creeps past on tiptoes

so as not to arouse the beast.





Gothic Tale


So quiet here at dawn,

no one remembers

the squinting window

in the clock face.

So quiet,

even though the clock’s

relentless hands


over-ardent lovers

and the trees creak

under the increasing weight

of the sky.

Copyright ©2005 Katarzyna Borun Jagodzinska

English translation Copyright ©2005 Gerry Murphy




Katazyna Borun-Jagodzinska


Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska, was born in 1956 in Warsaw, and did not, despite considerable efforts, study at the Academy of Fine Art or the History of Art Department of the University of Warsaw. Instead she attended seminars at the Lodz Film School and in 1989 was a participant of the International Writing Program of Iowa University. Her collections include Wyciszemia (Quietenings, 1997), Moly Happening (A Minor Happening, 1979), Zycie Codzienne w Panstwie Srodka (Daily Life in the Middle Kingdom, 1983) and WiecefWiersze o Zmroku (More – Poems at Twilight, 1991). Borun has worked as a messenger, small ads clerks and eventually became an editor on the monthly Temperance and Hard Work.



Gerry Murphy


Gerry Murphy was born in Cork in 1952. His poetry collections include A Small Fat Boy Walking Backwards (1985, 1992) and Rio de la Plata and All That (1993). He has also published two pamphlets – A Cartoon History of the Spanish Civil War (1991) and Dead Cat in Winthrop Street (1994). The Empty Quarter was published in 1995 followed by Extracts from a Lost Log Book of Christopher Columbus (1999) and Torso of an Ex-Girlfriend in 2002. His work has also appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals. His New and Selected was published by Dedalus in 2006. He lives in Cork City.






























Read all the latest issues
of Southword journal
online here


Visit our Youtube channel
to view events from
previous festivals and more

Words Ireland

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


Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition 2018


Judge Paul McVeigh

Read the 2017 winning story by Louise Nealon


The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Wednesday Septmeber 12-
Saturday September 15 2018


The Cork International
Poetry Festival


Wednesday March 27-
Saturday March 30 2019


The 2018 Southword Fiction
Chapbook Competition
is now accepting entries.
Deadline 31st October



The 2018 Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition
is now closed



Southword Editions

on sale in
our bookstore


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



The Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Gregory O Donoghue

This year's winner is Rob Lipton
whose poem will be published
in the next issue of Southword

The competition will reopen
for submissions in
September 2018



Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

2018 Fellow Carys Davies



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(AT)eircom(DOT)net

Irish Registered Charity No.12374