Welcome to the Munster
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 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.
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.
The Towers Turn Red
Southword Editions, 2005.
Poems by Sigitas Parulskis. Translated from Lithuanian by Liz O'Donoghue.
At the core of this collection is a sequence of two-line, gravestone epitaphs, of the not-very-celebratory sort. The darker, pain-filled perspectives of living and dying are expressed uncompromisingly, sometimes surreally, sometimes with brute gothic realism. Sigitas Parulskis is the voice of a new Lithuania unshackled and demuzzled from unrealistic, official, Soviet optimism. His voice has such authority it guarantees him not only a place as Lithuania's leading young poet but also fiction writer. Liz O'Donoghue's experience as one of the generation of Irish who matured into the despairing 1980s of the green Banana Republic qualifies her perfectly for transferring Parulskis' vision into a cutting, sardonic Hiberno-English.
What the critics have said:
"All Parulskis' pieces in this collection show the same reduced, tight, held-back form. His poems have something of a sharp intake of breath about them, as if he is surprised or shocked by the experience. They create vivid and often disturbing images... he is an original voice." -The Penniless Press
Selected Poems from The Towers Turn Red
love God and prune stew
but not just him, love my soul too
love God, even Eve, do
but not just them, love my soul too
love God, a man, true
but not only him, love me too
love God, my mouth too
Christ’s stinking urn
But not just him, love me, idiot that I am
Ash Wednesday, Tapping Sap
across virgin soil
the wind rolls straw
I should burn
and scatter the ashes
on your hair
old wounded maple
we are both dust
I’m just peesash
In Need of a Drink
father and I went into the desert
with water in our mouths
to leave there
earth in our palms
to leave there
with the skies
in our eyes
into our skin
in our hair
in our breasts
to leave there
at the heart of the desert
our strength was gone
in the centre
we planted crosses
lay down the earths
from our palms
lay down the songs
from our hearts
sank the wells
then lay in the oasis of the crosses
when we touched the crosses
we breathed their shelter
inside the cross
I buried deep
Copyright ©2005 Sigitas Parulskis
English translation Copyright ©2005 Liz O'Donoghue
Born 1965, Sigitas Parulskis is one of the most interesting, and certainly the most popular, young poets writing in Lithuania today. Born in the village of Obeliai, Parulskis has published three collections of poetry, three plays, a children’s book, numerous essays and critical reviews. He is the editor of the literary section of Lithuania’s most popular daily Lietuvos Rytas. Much of Parulskis’s material draws from his childhood in rural Lithuania, his experiences as a conscript in the Soviet army, and an archetypal relationship with “the father”. The poems translated here are from Parulskis’ award winning collection Of the Dead, published in 1994.
Liz O'Donoghue was born in 1960 in North Cork, and attended UCC in late 1970s/early 1980s where she ran the poetry workshop and was first published in Quarryman, edited by Greg Delanty. She went on to be published in journals such as Poetry Ireland Review, Stet, The Shop, The Cork Review, The College Green, Southword, The Stony Thursday Book and Volume.
In 1991 she founded the "Live Poets Society"— a pub-based live poetry performance group which anticipated the open-mic movement of the 21st century. In 1995 she published the chapbook Waitress at the Banquet with Three Spires Press and had work included in the Cork University Press anthology Jumping Off Shadows - Some Contemporary Irish Poets. In 1998 a poem of hers was published into Hungarian and published in Magyar Naplo.
Between 2000 and 2003 she worked on directing a filmed anthology of Cork poets called In the Hands of Erato which was screened at the Cork Film Festival. In 2004 she received an artist's bursary from Cork City Council. In 2005 she translated the work of Sigitas Parulskis, a Lithuanian poet for the Cork Year of Culture translations project. Her debut collection, ‘Train To Gorey’, was published by Arlen House and launched in Dublin in November 2008.
She has one son and lives and works in Cork city.
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Sean Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition
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Best Irish Poetry in English 2010
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The Munster Literature Centre produces the Irish section of this prestigious poetry site. Current featured poets are from Landing Places, the new Dedalus anthology of immigrant poets. For further information, please visit the site at www.poetryinternational.org.
The Munster Literature Centre hosts two annual festivals. The larger Cork City - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival takes place each September, while the Cork Spring Literary Festival, with varying themes, is presented each spring. Further information is available on our drop down menus.
Workshops in poetry and fiction run in Spring and Winter at MLC. Contact Jennifer for more information.
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