MLC books

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.




Connect with Munster
Literature Centre
on social media

Munster Literature Centre




farmgate logo

The Farmgate Café National Poetry Award

2020 Shortlist

How to Enter

2019 Winner


2020 Shortlist

The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2020 Farmgate Café National Poetry Award. The award of €2,000 is given to the best book published in English, in the previous calendar year, by a poet living in Ireland. The award is sponsored by Cork’s famous restaurant The Farmgate Café. The judges this year were UK-based poet and academic Ailbhe Darcy, US-based poet and academic Thomas Dillon Redshaw and Cork-based poet and publisher Billy Ramsell.

The shortlist in alphabetical order is:

  • When the Tree Falls by Jane Clarke (Bloodaxe Books)
  • The End of the World by Patrick Deeley (The Dedalus Press)
  • May Day 1974 by Rachael Hegarty (Salmon Poetry)
  • The Gravity Wave by Peter Sirr (The Gallery Press)
  • Threading the Light by Ross Thompson (The Dedalus Press)
  •  The winning title will be announced at the opening event of the Cork International Poetry Festival on Tuesday March 24th at 6.30 p.m. at the Farmgate Café, English Market, Princess Street.

    This event is free but ticketed
    Visit our Eventbrite page for tickets

    More about the shortlisted poets:


    Jane Clarke is the author of two poetry collections The River and When the Tree Falls (Bloodaxe Books 2015 & 2019) as well as an illustrated chapbook, All the Way Home, (Smith|Doorstop 2019).




    Patrick Deeley is a poet, memoirist and children’s writer. He is the 2019 recipient of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award. His best-selling memoir, The Hurley-Maker’s Son, was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book of the Year Awards.


    Rachael Hegarty was the winner of the Francis ledwidge Prize and Over the Edge New Writer of the year. Her debut collection, Flight Paths Over Finglas (Salmon Poetry), won the 2018 Shine Strong Award.




    Peter Sirr's most recent collections are The Gravity Wave (2019), a Poetry Book Society recommendation and Sway (2016), versions of poems from the troubadour tradition. The Rooms (2014) was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award.


    How to Enter

    The Farmgate Café National Poetry Award was established in 2019 with sponsorship from one of Cork's most loved restaurants - The Farmgate Café. The partnership between the Munster Literature Centre and the Farmgate received the Business to Arts 2019 Best Small Sponsorship Award.

    The award is a cash prize of €2000 for the best collection published in English by a poet resident in Ireland during the previous calendar year. Collections in translation are considered. In its inaugural year the award went to Leanne O'Sullivan for her Bloodaxe collection a Quarter of an Hour. O'Sullivan can be seen receiving her award here.

    Entries will open for the 20201 award in December. Publishers will be asked to send us four copies each of titles published during 2020 by poets domiciled in Ireland. Reprints, collected and selected editions are ineligible. This is so new work can be encouraged and rewarded. Self-published books are also ineligable.The winning poet must be willing to accept their award and present a short reading at the beginning of the 2021 Cork International Poetry Festival (March 2021). The judges for the 2021 award are to be announced..

    All entries should be sent to the following address:

    The Farmgate National Poetry Award
    The Munster Literature Centre
    84 Douglas Street

    Deadline for receipt of entries will be announced in late 2020.


    Award Presentation at the Cork International Poetry Festival, March 19th 2019


    Inaugural winner of the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award

    a quarter of an hour

    A Quarter of an Hour (2018) by Leanne O’Sullivan, published by Bloodaxe Books.


    Leanne O’Sullivan is from the Beara Peninsula in West Cork and was educated at UCC. Her acclaimed first collection, Waiting for my Clothes, was published by Bloodaxe in 2004. Three more collections, also from Bloodaxe, have appeared since – Cailleach: The Hag of Beara (2009), The Mining Road (2013) and A Quarter of an Hour (2018). She received the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry in 2011 and a UCC Alumni Award in 2012. Her work has been included in various anthologies, including Best Irish Poetry 2010 (Southword Publishing), Selina Guinness’s The New Irish Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2004) and Billy Collins’s Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (Random House, 2003). Leanne was the recipient of the 2009 Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary and in 2010 was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Formerly a writer-in-residence at UCC, she was appointed lecturer in creative writing in 2016.

    The award is for the best original collection published in the previous calendar year (2018) by a poet living in Ireland. Over forty titles were in contention.

    The award includes a €2000 cash prize and is sponsored by the renowned Farmgate Café in the English Market, Cork, and is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre. The award is different from any other in that it is exclusively for books of new work by poets living in Ireland. Books translated into English for the first time are also considered and this year included works originally written in Irish and Galician. The three judges scored the books without mutual consulting and the books with the highest aggregate scores were chosen as winner and commended. The jury for the award consisted of Cork-based Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, London-based Maurice Riordan and Paris-based Professor Cliona Ní Riordáin.

    Leanne O’Sullivan, inaugural winner, said “I’m honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Farmgate Market Cafe National Poetry Award, particularly for this book which means so much to me. I’m grateful to the judges for choosing that book and to Kay and Rebecca of the Farmgate for all the support they have shown poetry down through the years.”

    Prize judge, Maurice Riordan said of the winning title, “Leanne O’Sullivan is possessed of a haunting lyric voice which, in A Quarter of an Hour, draws us into an area of surface tension where personal crisis – a husband stricken and then recovering from a deadly illness – interacts with our experience of the non-human. ‘Dawn’, the poem that gives the book its particular title and focus, captures in its evocation of the dawning world the ‘here to not here’ of becoming; and as readers we are given access throughout to that dimension between the mundane and the mythic that normally eludes articulation, but here finds expression in limpid, precise poems. At once tender, exploratory and grace-filled, this finely orchestrated collection attests to the wholeness of natural life and, resonant with folkloric wisdom, it re-awakens the spirit to a fresh sense of the mystery and precariousness of our world. It is an astonishing achievement.”

    Rebecca Harte of the Farmgate Market Café said, “We opened the doors of the Farmgate Café in the English Market in 1987. Since that time poetry (and in particular, Cork’s community of poets) has been part of our working life and is a key element of what makes the Farmgate Café special. So, it seems fitting, in our 25th year, that we would inaugurate the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award, and support richness and diversity of poetry in Ireland.”

    Director of the Award Patrick Cotter said, “I’m delighted we have a new award exclusively for poets living and working in Ireland. Without the generosity of the Farmgate Market Café, stalwarts, in their support for the arts, this award would not be possible.

    Six other titles were highly commended by the judges. They are: Orpheus by Theo Dorgan, The Last Straw by Tom French, The White Silhouette by James Harpur, Notions by John Kelly, Love The Magician by Medbh McGuckian and This One High Field by Michelle O’Sullivan.





Seán O'Faoláin
Short Story Competition

Deadline: 31st July




Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition

Deadline: 31st August

ffp promo



Subscribe to Southword
Issue 38




Southword Editions
Chapbooks 2020

The King of The Lam
Greg Delanty



Audrey Molloy



Heather Treseler




MunsterLit Youtube
Every Monday & Friday




O'Faoláin Short Story
Prize Reading Playlist



O'Donoghue Poetry
Prize Reading Playlist



How to Write Titles




Essays & Blogs
In Praise of Celan




Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member of



The Munster Literature Centre

Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork, Ireland.

Tel. (353) 021 4312955 Email info@munsterlit.ie

Irish Registered Charity No.12374