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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.





Flying Blind

Flying Blind
Southword Editions, 2005.
Poems by Guntars Godiņš. Translated from Latvian by Eugene O'Connell.

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Guntars Godiņš' wry tragic-comic poems report from the borderlands; his relentless meditations on the human condition mirror the geographic location of a country on the edge of the Arctic waste, on the borders of an old, crumbling empire. Eschewing the usual solace of faith and fatherland, his poems spiral down into the dark places of the human pysche, exploring the reality behind our accepted notions.


Selected Poems from Flying Blind


One Road


The road lost in itself

Finds its way in the traveller

It carries on its back, his needs

In a bag threaded through a stick.

Trusting in the path he has chosen:

The way a river flows in the bed

Worn out by itself over the ages,

The way winds blow from whatever

Troughs source them in the seas,

The way the hands of a believer

Come together to pray.








Living, we can

Not be painted.


Can only live

In this Painting and marvel.


At people in the Paintings

We look at.


Who might in fact

Be painting us.




Cha Cha


When I was at my most beautiful

Our street in Riga was shelled,

A hole in the roof let the Arctic in,

I was numb when I wanted

An ermine wrap to warm me.


When I was at my most beautiful

My soldier had a smart coat

With a gold pocket I put chocolate

In for the front, he should have

Warmed for me in his mouth.


When I was at my most beautiful

A punched tag arrived in the post

With his name and birth date,

His body weighed on my shoulders

Instead of turning in my hands.

Copyright ©2005 Guntars Godiņš

English translation Copyright ©2005 Eugene O'Connell




Guntars Godins


Guntars Godiņš was born in 1958. He studied Latvian literature and language at the University of Latvia and completed advanced studies in Finnish literature and culture at Helsinki University. His four poetry collections include Tas Nepasacitais (That Left Unsaid), Ar Atakalejosu Datumu (Dated Retrospectively), Enu Nesejs (Shadow Bearer) and Nakts Saule (Nocturnal Sun). One of the last of a group of dissident poets, before independence from the Soviet Union in 1992, he was heavily censored by the Soviet authorities for his biting anti-government irony.


His eclectic career includes work as a broadcaster of folk music and song on Latvian radio and a period as editor of the popular magazine Avois (The Well). He is cultural attaché at the Latvian embassy in Estonia.



Eugene O'Connell



Eugene O’Connell was born near Kiskeam in northwest Cork in 1951. He has published a number of chapbooks, one full collection of poems One Clear Call (Bradshaw Books 2003) and one book of translations, Flying Blind (Southword Editions), which was volume 12 of the Cork European City of Culture Translation Series. Diviner, a new collection of his poems, was published by Three Spires Press in 2009. He is editor of The Cork Literary Review.




























Words Ireland

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




The Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Gregory O Donoghue

Deadline: 30 November




Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

30 November 2017

Marie Helene Bertino
2017 Fellow:
Marie-Helene Bertino




Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in spring.




Fool for Poetry


Molly Minturn &
Bernadette McCarthy !


Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story
Competition 2017

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Louise Nealon!




Southword Editions

on sale in
our bookstore


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






Read all the latest issues
of Southword journal
online here


Poetry International

Recent additions:

Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin
Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn
Brendan Cleary
Eleanor Hooker

& more





The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in September






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