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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





Fool for Poetry

International Chapbook


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


2018 Winners & Finalists

About the Competition

How to submit

Previous Winners / Purchase Winning Titles


2018 Winners

1st Place
 Assembly Instructions by Katie Hale (Cumbria, UK)

Photography by Phil Rigby

Katie Hale

Born in Cumbria, Katie Hale's debut pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017. She recently won the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the Buzzwords Poetry Competition, and came second in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize. Her poetry has been published in Poetry Review, The North and Interpreter’s House, among others. Following a year's mentoring from Penguin Random House UK through their inaugural WriteNow scheme, Katie's debut novel, My Name is Monster, will be published by Canongate in 2019. She runs creative writing workshops in schools, and is currently working on a first full collection of poetry.

2nd Place
other gods
by Regina O’Melveny (California, USA)

    Photography by Andrea Bricco

melveneyRegina O’Melveny’s poetry has been anthologized and widely published in literary magazines including The Bellingham Review, rattapallax, The Sun, Solo, and Bacopa.  Her long poem Fireflies won the Conflux Press Award, and recently Conflux Press published two of her chapbooks, New and A Secret. Her collection, Blue Wolves, was published by Bright Hill Press, winning their full-length poetry book award. Little, Brown and Company published her novel The Book of Madness and Cures, one of six books listed by npr.org under “Time Passages: The Year’s Best Historical Fiction” in Best Books of 2012. She lives with her husband in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Finalists (Highly Commended)

Lucky Scars by Partridge Boswell (Vermont, USA)
My Half of Night by Emily Davis-Fletcher (South Carolina, USA)
Threshold of Light by Michael S. Glaser (Maryland, USA)
Mute Swans on the Cam by Jan Harris (Notts, UK)
From a Green Headland by Phelim Kavanagh (Co. Wexford, Ireland)
Demolition in the Tropics by Rogan Kelly (New Jersey, USA)
Song of the Satyress by Audrey Molloy (NSW, Australia)
The Untimely Death of My Mother’s Hens by Breda Spaight (Co. Limerick, Ireland)


Dandelion Skeletons by Eric Berlin (New York, USA)
Sweet Home Bewilderness by Partridge Boswell (Vermont, USA)
The Drowned City by Jerm Curtin (Badajoz, Spain)
Life Coaching for Gargoyles by Mick Corrigan (Kildare, Ireland)
Out of Blocks by Terence Doyle (Cork, Ireland)
The Long-Term Effects of Exposure to a Civilised Society by Rory Duffy (Westmeath, Ireland)
Zambra for a Broken Star by Ed Frankel (Los Angeles, USA)
After Spicer by Ed Frankel (Los Angeles, USA)
The Unfinished Listening by Ed Frankel (Los Angeles, USA)
Garcia Lorca Becomes His Own Poem by Ed Frankel (Los Angeles, USA)
Hijito by Carlos Andrés Gómez (New York, USA)
i make men like you die sweetly by Paula Harris (Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Bronze by Eoin Hegarty (Dublin, Ireland)
Stone Stacker by Shannon Tate Jonas (Illinois, USA)
There Go I by Majella Kelly (Galway, Ireland)
A different Denouement by Donald Levering (New Mexico, USA)
Breakfast Islands by Mike Lewis-Beck (Iowa, USA)
Lorca and the Gipsies by Martin McCarthy (Cork)
Centipede by Bruce Meyer (Ontario, Canada)
The Knife Thrower’s Girl by Naomi Mulvihill (Boston, USA)
Start for Home by Cian Murphy (London, England)
Slaughter Hall by Clifton Redmond (Carlow, Ireland)
One of the Good Ones by Lauren Sartor (New York, USA)
The Diva Sings for Her Supper by Heidi Seaborn (Seattle, USA)
Out of Kilter by Larry Stapleton (Wexford, Ireland)
Swept Back by Jean Tuomey (Mayo, Ireland)
AND by Roderic Vincent (Shropshire, England)
Night Blue by Margaret Young – (Beverly, USA)


How was this result arrived at?

Patrick Cotter (artistic director) read over 200 entries anonymously and selected ten finalists. The ten finalists were read by poets James Harpur, Mary Noonan and Maya Popa who each scored the ten finalists without mutual consultation. The scripts with the highest scores were awarded first and second place.

Patrick Cotter also selected the 28 commended entries.

Katie Hale and Regina O’Melveny will receive cash prizes of €1,000 and €500 respectively as well as complementary copies of their published chapbooks, which will be launched at the Cork International Poetry Festival in March 2019. Among the confirmed participants at the 2019 festival are Billy Collins, Ciaran Carson, David Harsent, Doris Kareva and Pascale Petit.

In addition, fnalist Breda Spaight has agreed to allow her highly commended entry to be published as part of Southword Editions New Irish Voices chapbook series.


About the Competition

1st Prize: €1,000

2nd Prize: €500

Both winners will win a chapbook publication and 25 complimentary copies.

The winning poets are also offered a reading and three nights' accommodation at the Cork International Poetry Festival (Spring 2020) www.corkpoetryfest.net

The competition is open to new, emerging and established poets from any country. 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. Up to 25 other entrants will be publicly listed as "highly commended".

Manuscripts can be between 16 and 24 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.

There is an entrance fee of €25 for each manuscript. Entrants may enter more than one manuscript. The winners will be selected by a panel of renowned poets including Mary Noonan, Thomas McCarthy, Maya Catherine Popa, James Harpur and Leanne O’Sullivan.

The winning chapbooks will be published by Southword Editions and launched at the Cork International Poetry Festival (March 2020). It will be offered for sale internationally through our own website, Amazon, and in selected independent book shops.

Applications will reopen on March 1st.


How to submit

Email entry

Send to: foolforpoetry@munsterlit.ie
Subject: FFP entry 2019

  1. The chapbook for submission (Word document. We cannot accept PDF's). As the competition is judged anonymously, we request that you do not write your name or personal details anywhere on this document.
  2. A cover letter (separate word document attached to the same email). The cover letter should include
    - Your name
    - Chapbook title
    - Email address
    - Phone number
    - Postal address
    - Image of PayPal receipt or the Paypal transaction ID number
    - How your heard about the competition
    - A brief bio (optional)
    Please ensure that this information is in the attachment and not in the body of the email.
  3. Payment of the €25 entry fee can be made through PayPal (see below)

Postal entry: Please include:

  1. Submission manuscript (typed). To ensure anonymity, please do not write your name or any other personal details on the manuscript.
  2. Cover letter - see details above. Cover letter should be on a separate page to ensure anonymity.
  3. Payment: If you have paid through Paypal, just quote the Paypal transaction ID. Alternatively we accept cheques and bank drafts (see details below)
  4. Send to:
    The Fool for Poetry Competition,
    The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O'Connor House,
    84 Douglas Street,
    Cork, T12 X802
  5. Please DO NOT SEND ENTRIES BY REGISTERED POST. Unfortunately we are less likely to receive entries sent by registered post and your submission may be ineligible due to the delay incurred.
  6. If you would like us to send you confirmation of your postal entry, please include a self-addressed stamped postcard or envelope. We can confirm the receipt of international entries via email.


Paypal will deduct the fee in your own currency. As proof of payment, please include an image of the receipt or quote the transaction ID in your cover letter.

PayPal Portal will appear here when applications reopen on March 1st.

Alternative methods of payment (Postal entries)

  • Bank drafts
  • Other currencies: We can also accept cheques and bank drafts in Euro, U.S. Dollars or Pounds sterling at a rate of US $30 or £25 for each entry
  • Postal order (Republic of Ireland only)
  • Please note that we cannot accept cash payment


ffp poster


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. The competition did not run from 2010-13. It was reintroduced in 2014.





Subscribe to Southword



Southword Editions




2019 John Montague Fellow
Sandra Beasley


2018 Fellow Carys Davies

2019 Frank O'Connor
Short Story Fellowship
applications now open

Deadline: 31st Jan 2019




The Cork International
Poetry Festival

March 19 - 23, 2019



The Cork International
Short Story Festival




The Gregory O'Donoghue
Poetry Competition

Results February 2019



The Southword Fiction
Chapbook Competition

Results January 2019


how to pass

The Seán Ó Faoláin
Short Story Competition

2018 winner How to Pass
by Louise Crimmins
will be in Southword 36



The Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition

2018 winners
1st: Katie Hale
2nd: Regina Melveny




Youtube channel



Words Ireland

The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland


Poetry International

Recent additions:

Michelle O'Sullivan
Paddy Bushe
Doireann Ní Gríofa
Paul Casey



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