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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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Literature Centre
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Munster Literature Centre





The Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition 2016

(Runs annually from mid-January to end of May)

Some people are fools for love, others are fools for poetry


Maya PopaJohn MeeRoisin KellyPaul McMahon

Congratulations to winners
John Mee & Maya Catherine Popa!


Two further chapbooks by Róisín Kelly & Paul McMahon
to be published in our 'New Irish Voices' series

 There was a 25% increase in entries to this year's Fool for Poetry competition and the standard was extremely high. We will be posting a list of the 12 shortlistees and the many highly commended on munserlit.ie next week. But we can announce now that the overall winner this year was John Mee from Cork who won the Patrick Kavanagh Award just last year. Runner-up was New York-based Maya Catherine Popa - a previous winner of the Gregory O'Donoghue Prize. Both John and Maya are debutantes and we are very proud to be issuing their first solo publications at the launch of the Cork International Poetry Festival next February. Our chapbook list will be augmented by a 'New Irish Voices' series. In November we will publish debutant chapbooks by Belfast-born, Munster-resident poets Roisin Kelly and Paul McMahon. Thank you to everyone who entered and to James Harpur, Thomas McCarthy, Leanne O'Sullivan and Matthew Sweeney who judged the final 12 manuscripts shortlisted by Patrick Cotter - anonymous all the way.

The 2016 shortlist
(listed alphabetically by manuscript title)

Bare, Daisy Radevsky (United Kingdom)

Bourdon, Paul McMahon (Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland)

Dodger, Kevin D. Kinsella (Los Angeles, CA, USA)

From the Extinct, John Mee (Cork, Ireland)

If Not Savior, Emily Holt (Seattle, WA—USA)
Love & A Loaded Gun, Emily Rose Cole (USA)

One Blow Breaks These Floorboards, Shaun Gardiner (Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK)

Queer Reptile: My Zoology, Anne Young (Dublin, Ireland)

The Bees Have Been Canceled, Maya Catherine Popa (New York City, NY—USA)

The Kissing Gate, John Wheway (United Kingdom)

The Narrow House, Daniel Conor Murphy (Wilmington, MA—USA)

The Secret Poet, Darren Donohue (Co. Kilkenny, Ireland)




2016 Highly Commended Titles
(listed alphabetically by manuscript title)


A Smell Of Horse, Hugh O’Donnell (Dublin, Ireland)

An Arc Through Innocence, Frank Dullaghan (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Archaeology & the Beast, Julia Rose Lewis (Massachusetts, USA)

Awake With Low Slung Moon, Patricia Percival (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

Back Against the Knell, Kierstin Bridger (Colorado, USA)

Behind Enemy Lines, Bennet McNiff (Drogheda, Co Louth, Ireland)

Bourdon, Paul McMahon (Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland)

Cold Affection, V. Joshua Adams (Louisville, Kentucky, USA)

Diorama, Pam Thompson (Leicester, UK)

Flat Line, Paul McMahon (Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland)

Hatchment, Richard Hawtree (Surrey, UK)

Here birds are, Art Allen (Oxford, UK)

How Young We Were Then, Cathy Donelan (Ballinasloe, Co Galway, Ireland)

If This Had Been A Real Emergency, Kathryn Guille (Ireland)

I Make the Path by Walking, Rose Malone (Sallins, Co Kildare, Ireland)

Jamaican Honeymoon, DG Geis (Houston, Texas, USA)

Jesus by the Jukebox, the End of America, and the Whiskey of the Damned; Dante Di Stefano (Endwell, New York, USA)

Kin Types, Luanne Castle (Paradise Valley, Arizona, USA)

Mausoleums, Sadie McCarney (Prince Edward Island, Canada)

Me Mum Kissed Me Dad in the Back of That Mosque, Atar J Hadari (UK)

Modern Conversational Arabic, Bernadette McCarthy (Carrigadrohid, Co Cork, Ireland)

On dating serial killers, and other hitches to modern-woman living; Bryanna Liccardi (Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA)

Orange, Dreaming; KT Landon (Reading, Massachusetts, USA)

Picasso’s Women, Jo Burns (Miltenberg, Germany)

Pike In A Carp Pond, Pnina Shinebourne (London, UK)

She charts the geography of longing, Libby Hart (Elwood, Victoria, Australia)

Spider Web In A Death Row Window: poems for Constance Markievicz, Kathryn Guille (Ireland)

Stoic, Mara Adamitz Scrupe (Philadelphia, USA)

The Boat Rope, Tista Austin (Cambridge, UK)

The Elegy Season, Matt Hohner, (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

The Juliet Shoulder, Kathleen Balma (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)

The Last of England, Stephen Devereaux (Liverpool, UK)

The Panic Inside the Stars, Gianmarc Manzione (St Petersburg, Florida, USA)

The Threshold of Light, Michael S. Glaser (St Mary’s City, Maryland, USA)

Under Surveillance, Michael Farry (Trim, Co Meath, Ireland)

Vermächtnis, Jo Burns (Miltenberg, Germany)

View from Montenotte, David Murphy (Ireland)

Ways of Seeing, Phelim Kavanagh (Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Ireland)

WTF, Laura Foley (South Pomfret, Vermont, USA)




1st & 2nd prize winners will each have their manuscript published, and will receive 50 complimentary copies of their chapbooks.

1st prize to receive €1000 & 2nd prize to receive €500.

The competition is open to new, emerging and established poets from any country BUT at least one of the winners will be a debutante (with no chapbook or book published previously). Up to 25 - 50 other entrants will be publicly listed as "highly commended".

Manuscripts must be sixteen to twenty-four pages in length, in the English language and the sole work of the entrant with no pastiches, translations or 'versions'. The poems can be in verse or prose. Each chapbook is guaranteed a review in Southword Journal.

The winning chapbooks will be published in February 2017 with ISBNs, barcodes and will be offered for sale internationally through our own website, Amazon, and selected independent book sellers. The winning poets will be offered a reading and given three nights' accommodation at the 2017 Cork Spring Poetry Festival. An entrance fee of €25 will be charged for each manuscript. Entrants may enter more than one manuscript. For full details consult www.munsterlit.ie in December. The winners will be selected by a panel chosen by the management board of Southword Editions.

The 2016 deadline has passed.
Thank you to everyone who entered!

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About the Fool For Poetry Competition

Past winners of Fool For Poetry

A brief history of Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition


The Munster Literature Centre established the Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition in 2005. The competition offered writers the opportunity to have their poems published in a high quality production from the Munster Literature Centre's publishing branch, Southword Editions. The winner also received a cash prize and travel expenses to Ireland for the book launch. Although the competition was not continued from 2010, it was reintroduced in 2014.




Browse more chapbooks by previous winners

Fool For Poetry bookstore

of the Fool For Poetry Competition
in our online bookshop.


Victor TapnerTania Hershman

2016 winners Victor Tapner & Tania Hershman
Chapbooks available to purchase at our online bookstore.









Words Ireland

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



New Irish Voices
poetry chapbooks
by Roisin Kelly
and Paul McMahon

Available for purchase




Read all the latest issues
of Southword journal
online here



Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

2016 Fellow:
Zsuzsi Gartner

Zsuzsi Gartner
Applications now
being accepted for
2017 residency.




Fool for Poetry


2016 winners announced!




Writing Workshops
at the MLC


Short story
festival workshops
coming soon



Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

2016 winners announced




Southword Editions

Tania Hershman

Newest books:

Fool For Poetry
chapbooks by
Tania Hershman
& Victor Tapner



Poetry International

Recent additions:

Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin
Kimberly Campanello
Justin Quinn
Brendan Cleary
Eleanor Hooker

& more




Cork International
Poetry Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in spring.




The Cork International
Short Story Festival

Cork International Short Story Festival

Annually in September




Southword Issue 30

Southword Journal

New issue, free to read online.



The Munster Literature Centre

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

Tel. (353) 021 4312955 Email munsterlit@eircom.net

Irish Registered Charity No.12374