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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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Confidential Reports

Confidential Reports
Southword Editions, 2005.
Poems by Immanuel Mifsud. Translated from Maltese by Maurice Riordan.

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Immanuel Mifsud brings a new note of emotional candour to contemporary poetry. Confidential Reports tells the tale of love and grief in poems that are direct, often darkly erotic, and shot through with wit and humour. This is poetry as the old rock 'n roll — edgy, excessive, and visceral in its appeal. Mifsud resembles a rumbustious latter-day troubadour as his imagination roams the Mediterranean and mainland Europe. Here is a book that is lyrical, vulnerable and transgressive.


What the critics have said:

"Confidential Reports includes almost violently sexy poems of attraction and engagement. Riordan's elegant translations manage the trick of ventriloquism: we forget we are really listening, at least in part, to a poet whose work we already know; we enter instead a dark, living, extraordinary world." -The Irish Times



Selected Poems from Confidential Reports


The Day of the Dead (in Bratislava)        


If you were here, I’d ask you to recite

whole chapters that now are buried with dust.

Then I might have some clue as to how

I’d found my way to this unlit station.

From which no train is ever going to leave.

From which no footstep leads me away.


If you were here today, you could colour in

the blank map by which I was led alone

through the streets, the blind corners I turned

so that now I’ve arrived at this precise spot.

I’ve no idea how to pull myself out of here.


My blood, the fairground where ghouls hang out.




Poem at Your Funeral


Ma, I remember you sitting out the back

peeling tangerines and telling me stories,

those tall stories you loved so much to spin.

Ma, I remember the day you told me

you saw the stars fall one by one from heaven,

so many the sea became a sea of lights.


Every night, lying awake, I remember you said

rain drops were Mary’s darning needles,

and if I touched them they wouldn’t prick;

that the wind was only the voice of God singing

and that the thunder and lighting-flashes

were playthings baby Jesus had let fall.


Ma, I remember you beautiful like red roses,

like jasmine, and narcissus, and marguerites.

Ma, I remember your voice quick as a fiddle

playing or falling silent as the fancy struck you.


Then it fell silent never to start again.

Even the flowers can hear the empty silence.

The sea lights have all been switched off.


Ma, it’s time to go. Look, someone has lit the candles.

Someone is waiting to hand you a posy of flowers!

Be sure you smile. Ma, happy Feast Day!






You – the woman who loved me – are a year in the ground,

in the cold clay, in the dust, in the sand,

in the humid hole we dug for you to sleep in,

supposedly so we’d put to rest our memories.


You – the woman who loved me – are a year in the ground,

already one full year, and yet I can say

your voice comes back to me whenever

I listen to the flowers pray in the morning;

each time I stifle a cry, as you showed me to do,

so one dies at a steady pace, without too many jolts;

each time I give a rose, so I too get chucked away.


You – the woman who loved me – are a year in the ground,

and I can say, as I piece together your face

from the yellowing linen canvas of the past,

only you knew the heaviness of being a poet,

spilling his offspring with each step he takes.

Only you knew the weight on the burdened feet

of your son, counting the dry hours frittered away

with each sun that lets itself go on the vast waters

which I wish I could grasp the edges of.

Copyright ©2005 Immanuel Misfud

English translation Copyright ©2005 Maurice Riordan





Immanuel Mifsud


IMMANUEL MIFSUD was born in 1967. He is the leading Maltese writer of his generation and has published fiction as well as two collections of poems, Fil-Dar ta’Clara (In the House of Clara) and Il-Ktieb tar-Rih u l-Fjuri (The Book of the Wind and the Flowers). Most of his published work has been in theatre, which he also often directs. Mifsud has founded many theatrical companies, including the research theatre group Teatru tal-Ghomja (Theatre of the Blind). He teaches at the University of Malta.


Maurice Riordan



MAURICE RIORDAN was born in 1953 in Lisgoold, Co. Cork. His first book, A Word from the Loki (Faber, 1995), was a Poetry Book Society Choice and nominated for the T.S. Eliot Prize. His second, Floods (Faber, 2000), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and short listed for the Whitbread Poetry Prize. He has co-edited, with John Turney, A Quark for Mister Mark: 101 Poems about Science and, with John Burnside, the ecological anthology Wild Reckoning. In 2004 he was selected as a 'Next Generation' poet. He lives in London, where he teaches at Imperial College and on the Creative Writing MA at Goldsmiths College.





























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Munster Literature Centre
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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