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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 John Montague International
Poetry Fellowship
& Mentorship Bursaries


Go to:

Fellowship Application

Mentorship Bursaries Application

Past Fellows


The John Montague International Poetry Fellowship

Application deadline for the Spring 2020 fellowship is August 18th 2020. Applications now being accepted through Submittable.

The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce an initiative aimed at benefiting poets: The John Montague International Poetry Fellowship. The fellowship is made possible through the very generous sponsorship of University College Cork. The fellowship acknowledges the special place of poetry in the cultural history and contemporary practice of Cork City. The Munster Literature Centre hosts the largest annual poetry festival in Ireland.

Benefits of the fellowship to the successful writer

The successful fellow would benefit from the prestige of receiving a highly competitive international literary award which will not only allow the candidate to spend time concentrating on their own work but also to acquire experience in literary mentoring and the teaching of writing in an academic context. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to be inspired by living in one of Europe’s oldest cities, with a well-developed cultural infrastructure and a thriving literary community. The successful fellow would receive a monthly stipend of €2000, totalling €6,000 and self-catering accommodation. The costs of travel to and from Cork would also be covered.

Duties of the fellowship

The fellowship requires the poet to reside in Cork for twelve weeks and find time to work on their own writing. The poetry fellow would arrive in late January and depart late April. The fellow would contribute a public reading and a four-morning poetry masterclass to the Cork International Poetry Festival. During their twelve week stay they would provide a 5-credit workshop with the creative writing department of University College Cork. Their mentoring duties would consist of devoting two hours each, per week, to two Cork poets over eight weeks (32 hours total). They will be welcomed into the literary and social life of the city where they will have the opportunity to network with resident established writers. They would present a farewell public reading at the Boole Library of University College Cork.

Criteria for Selection

The recipient would be a poet from outside Ireland of international standing.

Fellowship applications are invited from poets working in English from outside Ireland.

The Poetry Fellow must have at least two full-length collections of poetry published. The successful candidate will be a poet respected by peers and preferably has experience in the coaching or teaching of other writers either through workshops and/or mentoring, inside or outside a formal academic setting.

Submission Guidelines

Candidates must supply through Submittable a single Word document consisting of a literary CV, a letter explaining why they want to work in Cork, and a course outline for a four morning poetry masterclass aimed at poets who have already been successfully published in periodicals. The masterclass is to take place on four consecutive mornings of the Cork International Poetry Festival involving the same group each day. The dates for the 2020 festival are March 25th to 28th. Shortisted poets may subsequently need to supply copies of their books and submit to interview by Skype.

Process of Selection

A shortlist of up to a dozen candidates will be selected by the Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre and subsequently assessed by a panel consisting of Patrick Cotter, the Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre, poet Leanne O'Sullivan of the School of English at University College Cork and another person appointed by Patrick Cotter. Up to four candidates will then be selected for interview.

Application deadline for the Spring 2020 fellowship is August 18th 2020. Applications now being accepted through Submittable.


The John Montague Mentorship Bursaries

Applications will open in late-2019

This will be an opportunity for two Cork poets to be mentored by the 2020 International Poetry Fellow between February and April of 2020. Each poet will benefit from a weekly two-hour contact session with the fellow over eight weeks.

To qualify you must be a poet resident in Cork City or resident in County Cork and engaging with the literary community of the city. You must have had at least four poems published in reputable literary journals. The mentorship is also open to authors with no more than one full-length collection already published who believe they can benefit from this opportunity.

Applicants should submit a single Word document divided into the following subheadings:
1) a letter outlining where you are currently with your writing and how you hope to benefit from a mentorship (maximum 500 words)
2) your literary resume (listing your publications/workshops attended/prizes/public readings etc.)
3) sample/samples of your own writing not exceeding five poems in total

The Fellow will choose the successful mentees from all valid applications received.

Applications will open in late-2019. Successful candidates will need to pay a deposit of €100, refundable upon completion of the mentorship and the submission of a written report of 300 words.


Past Fellows


2019 John Montague International Poetry Fellow

Sandra Beasley


The American poet, Sandra Beasley, has been appointed 2019 John Montague International Poetry Fellow. The fellowship is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre and funded by University College Cork. It's named to honour the great Irish poet John Montague who lived in Cork and taught at UCC for many years. Ms Beasley will reside in Cork for three months, where she will have the opportunity to concentrate on her own writing as well as contribute in numerous ways to the literary life of the city. She will read and present workshops at the Cork International Poetry Festival, mentor two up and coming Cork poets and teach at the Creative Writing Department of the School of English, at University College Cork.

Sandra Beasley is the author of Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir and cultural history of food allergies. She edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance, published in 2018. Her essays and articles have been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere.

Honors for her work include a 2015 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize; distinguished writer residencies at Wichita State University, Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; four DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships; two DCCAH Larry Neal Writers’ Awards; the C.P. Cavafy Prize from Poetry International; and the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers. She has received fellowships to The Hermitage, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Jentel Artist Residency, the Millay Colony, Vermont Studio Center, and Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has given readings and visited classrooms across the United States and, in fall 2017, traveled to Cyprus for Ideogramma’s 3rd International Literary Festival.

Beasley lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, the artist Champneys Taylor. She teaches with the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program.

- Find out more about Beasley at her website
- Follow her on Twitter and Facebook

- Read about her time as the 2019 John Montague Fellow here and here




2018 John Montague International Poetry Fellow

Brian Turner


We are delighted to announce the establishment of the John Montague International Poetry Fellowship, an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre, sponsored by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences and the Boole Library, University College Cork. This new fellowship complements our Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellowship funded wholly by Cork City Council as part of their Capital of Culture legacy programme.

In future years, poetry fellows will be selected by open call. In this inaugural year a straight appointment of US poet Brian Turner has been made. 

Brian Turner was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division (1999-2000). His latest book, My Life as a Foreign Country: A Memoir is published by W.W. Norton & Company in the US and Canada, and by Jonathan Cape/Random House in the UK and Ireland. He also has two collections of poetry: Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005; Bloodaxe Books, 2007) and Phantom Noise (Alice James Books, 2010; Bloodaxe Books in October of 2010), the last short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize in England. His work has appeared in major periodicals and press publications, on National Public Radio, the BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Here and Now, and on Weekend America, among others. 

Brian will reside in Cork for three months from February 2018, augmenting the city's literary milieu and helping to spread Cork City's international reputation as a city with a vibrant literary life, populated by poets and writers of national and international standing.  Brian Turner will contribute a four day masterclass to the Cork International Poetry Festival, he will contribute classes and workshops in the School of English UCC and will mentor two Cork-resident poets. 

- Find out more about Turner at the Poetry Foundation website


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2019 Seán O'Faoláin
Short Story Competition

Deadline: July 31st




2019 Fool for Poetry
Chapbook Competition
Deadline: June 30th




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The Cork International
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Sept 25 - 28, 2019




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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