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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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Munster Literature Centre





The Fool for Poetry
International Chapbook Competition 2017

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

Closing date for submissions is June 30, 2017

1st Prize: €1,000; 2nd Prize :€500
+chapbook publication with 50 free copies

Winning poets offered a reading and three nights' accommodation
at Cork 2018 International Poetry Festival (www.corkpoetryfest.net)

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

Manuscripts must be 16 to 23 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 2018 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 slot and three nights' accommodation at the Cork International Poetry Festival 2018. An entrance fee of €25 will be charged for each manuscript. Entrants may enter more than one manuscript. The winners will be selected by a panel consisting of renowned poets Mary Noonan, Matthew Sweeney, Thomas McCarthy, James Harpur and Leanne O’Sullivan.

Closing date for entries is June 30, 2017.

Submission Guidelines & Rules

Chapbook competition rules
Please read the rules carefully before entering the competition.

Your Manuscript

Poems should be in English

Submitted collections may contain poems of any length or style, providing all poems are original work, each page contains no more than 32 lines of poetry and there are no more than 23 pages of poetry in total.

Poems must be typed, single-spaced, on A4 pages.

Entries are judged anonymously, so please do not put your name anywhere on your poems. Send TWO cover sheets: one with your name, contact details, title and contents of your collection (for administrative use); and one with the title of your collection and a list of contents but no name or contact details, if you are a debutant, place the word ‘debutant’ under the title.

Poems submitted may not have been published previously as part of a chapbook/pamphlet or full collection, but poems that have been published in magazines, anthologies, blogs and other media are eligible. Please do not include any information about where any individual poems have been previously published.
Simultaneous submissions of a collection are allowed, provided the winning poet withdraws their work from consideration in other competitions immediately upon notification of success in our competition.

We accept poems from poets of any nationality, from any country. There is no lower age limit but we would point out that very young poets are likely to stand little chance of winning.

No alterations may be made to a collection once it has been submitted.

You may enter any number of collections, each with the requisite entry fee.

Your work will not be returned, so don’t forget to keep a copy. If you want confirmation that we have received your postal entry, please enclose an SAE labelled ‘Acknowledgement’. If you want to be informed of results please sign up for our newsletter here:

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The winner will be contacted by September 2017. The winning pamphlet will be published by  Southword Editions in February 2018 and launched at the Cork International Poetry Festival.

The winning authors will each receive 50 complimentary copies. The first prize winner will receive €1000. The second prize winner will receive €500. One of these winners will be the highest scoring manuscript entered by a debutant poet with no solo collection (full-length or chapbook) previously published. If the winners make their own way to the festival, the Munster Literature Centre will cover the costs of two nights’ hotel accommodation.

How to enter

Send your manuscript by post or enter online.

If entering by post, mark your envelope ‘Fool For Poetry Competition’ and send it postmarked no later than 20 June 2017 to The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O’Connor House 84, Douglas Street, Cork City, Ireland.  You can pay by Irish cheque or postal order or by British cheque (payable to The Munster Literature Centre). If you cannot pay by Irish or British cheque you will need to enter online. The online closing date is ten days later than the postal deadline.

If entering online, please pay the entry fee in euros at the PayPal button below. Then email your manuscript as an attachment as a word document, text file or PDF to foolforpoetry@munsterlit.ie

In the body of the email please copy all of the contact information from the manuscript title page and also copy and paste your PayPal receipt number. Also indicate here also where you are a debutant or not.

The €25/£25 entry fee allows you to enter one pamphlet of 18-23 pages of poems. You may enter as many times as you like, provided each collection is accompanied by the entry fee.

Closing date for online entries: 30 June 2017

Use the button below to pay via PayPal

Select entry options

Now available!

The 2016 Fool for Poetry winning chapbooks can be bought here at our online bookstore!

Warmest congratulations to our winners, John Mee and Maya Catherine Popa



Maya PopaJohn MeeRoisin KellyPaul McMahon

Announcing our 2016 Fool for Poetry 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 2016'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)




Sign up for email newsletter to receive all the latest news about the competition!



Victor TapnerTania Hershman

2015 winners Victor Tapner & Tania Hershman
Chapbooks available to purchase at our online bookstore


Browse all past winners of the Fool for Poetry Competitions 2005-2016 here!


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.








Words Ireland

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


New from Southword Editions!
New chapbooks by
John Fitzgerald
and Aidan Mathews

Available here

2017 Fool for Poetry
winning chapbooks
by John Mee
and Maya Catherine Popa

Available here


New Irish Voices
poetry chapbooks
by Roisin Kelly
and Paul McMahon

Available here




Read all the latest issues
of Southword journal
online here



Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship

2017 Fellow:
Marie-Helene Bertino




Fool for Poetry


Now accepting


Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story
Competition 2017

Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition

Now accepting




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