Welcome to the Munster
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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The Frank O'Connor International
Short Story Fellowship
and mentorship bursaries
(Open for submissions in April through September annually)
the 2017 Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Fellow
The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce that Marie-Helene Bertino has been selected as the 2017 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow. Bertino will take up residency in Cork City for three months from September. She will present a reading and a four day masterclass workshop at the Cork International Short Story Festival, will mentor two, emerging, Cork-based writers, teach at the Creative Writing Department in University College Cork and get involved in the literary milieu of the city. The fellowship is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre and is funded by Cork City Council.
Marie-Helene Bertino’s debut novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT'S PAJAMAS was a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick and a Best Book of 2014 from NPR, Buzzfeed, and many others. It is currently available in the UK, Turkey, Sweden, France, and Brazil. Her collection of short stories SAFE AS HOUSES was the recipient of The Iowa Short Fiction Award (judged by Jim Shepard), named an Outstanding Collection by The Story Prize and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize.
Awards include the O. Henry Prize, a Pushcart Prize and two Pushcart special mentions, Mississippi Review's Story Prize, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook Writers Colony, and NYC’s The Center for Fiction. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, Guernica, American Short Fiction, Gigantic, Gunzo (Japan), Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, and many others. She has been featured on Symphony Space NYC’s “Selected Shorts” radio program and lives in Brooklyn, where she was the Associate Editor for One Story for six years and is currently Editor-at-Large at Catapult.
She teaches at NYU and is a faculty member of the low-residency MFA program at Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM.
For more information, please visit: www.mariehelenebertino.com
Applications for the mentorship bursaries will open in May 2017
More about the 2017 Frank O'Connor Fellowship
Applications are now closed
The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce the establishment of a new initiative aimed at benefiting short story writers: The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellowship. The fellowship is made possible through the very generous sponsorship of Cork City Council (the municipal government). The fellowship follows on from the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and further demonstrates the commitment of the Munster Literature Centre and Cork City Council to the international short story community. Named for one of Cork’s most renowned writers it acknowledges the special place the short story form occupies in the cultural history and contemporary practice of the city.
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 acquiring more experience in literary mentoring and teaching 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 €3,000, totalling €9,000 and self-catering accommodation. The costs of travel to and from Cork would also be covered.
Duties of the fellowship
The fellowship requires the writer to reside in Cork for twelve weeks and find time to work on their own writing. The short story fellow would arrive in September when they would contribute a public reading and a four morning short story masterclass to the Cork International Short Story Festival. During their twelve week stay they would provide six contact hours a week over eight weeks involving two hours with the creative writing department of University College Cork and two hours each mentoring two Cork writers. They will be welcomed into the literary 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 writer from outside Ireland of international standing.
Fellowship applications are invited from writers working in English from outside Ireland. Writers who work in another language whose work is freely available in English translation and who are fluent in English themselves are also welcome to apply.
Short Story Fellow: Must have at least two full-length works of fiction published of which at least one must be a short story collection. The successful candidate will be a writer respected by peers with experience in the coaching or teaching of other writers either through workshops and/or mentoring inside or outside a formal academic setting.
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 short story masterclass aimed at writers who already have periodical publication success. The masterclass is to take place on four consecutive mornings of the Cork International Short Story Festival involving the same group each day.
Shortisted authors may subsequently need to supply copies of their books and submit to interview by Skype.
Process of Selection
A public call will be issued. A shortlist of between a dozen and twenty candidates will be selected by the Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre and subsequently assessed by a panel consisting of the Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre, a lecturer from the school of English UCC and an Irish writer who is a member of Aosdana.
Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries
There will be available two Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries which consist of fees-free mentoring by the Frank O’Connor International Fellow. Eligible applicants must be resident in Cork city or resident in the county and contributing to the literary life of the city. Minimum requirements must be one fiction periodical publication credit. There will be no upper limit of qualification – any qualified Cork writer who considers themselves capable of benefiting from the Fellowship mentoring relationship may apply. Exceptions being writers employed by the Munster Literature Centre or The School of English UCC, who may not apply. A short list of as many as six candidates will be selected by the MLC’s Artistic Director and forwarded to the fellow who will select the two successful candidates.
Applications now closed until May 2017.
2016 Fellow Zsuzsi Gartner
It was determined that the lead-in time between the establishment of the fellowship and the appointment of the first fellow in 2016 was too short for an open-call process so the 2016 fellow was a straight appointment by the Artistic Director, Patrick Cotter. The prize-winning Canadian author Zsuzsi Gartner was the inaugural Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow. Ms Gartner is the author of two highly-praised short story collections All the Anxious Girls on Earth (Key Porter, 1999) and Better Living through Plastic Explosives (Hamish Hamilton Canada, 2011). She also edited the short story anthology Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow which contained specially commissioned new work by many of Canada’s leading writers. Ms Gartner has extensive experience as a journalist, of serving on literary juries, teaching creative writing in and outside universities and privately mentoring many of Canada’s prize-winning young novelists and short story authors.
2016 Mentorship Bursary Recipients
The first two Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursarieswere awarded to Marie Gethins of Passage West, Cork, and David Brennan of Cork City. The two runners-up were Eimear Ryan of Cork, and Micheál Ó Siocháin of Charleville, Co. Cork.
Marie Gethins’ work has featured in The Irish Times, 2014/15/16 National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, NANO, Litro, The Lonely Crowd,Wales Arts Review, The Incubator, Firewords Quarterly and others. She won or placed in The Short Story, Tethered by Letters, Flash500, Dromineer Literary Festival, Kanturk Arts, The New Writer, Prick of the Spindle and 99fiction.net. Other pieces listed in From The Well, Boulevard Emerging Writers, Bath Short Story Award, Bristol Short Story Prize, Fish Short Story/Flash/Memoir, James Plunkett, Listowel Writers Week Originals, Inktears, Over the Edge, WOW! Award, and RTE/Penguin competitions. Marie is a Pushcart, Best of the Short Fictions, and British Screenwriters Award Nominee. She is completing her Master of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford and lives with her family in Glenbrook, Cork.
In 2014 David returned to Ireland after living in Japan for 12 years. He currently lives in Cork. In the last year he has been short listed for the Doolin Short Story award, the Curtis Bausse Short story award and long listed for the Fish Memoire prize. He has also published stories and poems in Memoryhouse, The Ogham Stone, Crabfat and Jungle Crows (a Tokyo anthology). He is currently working on a collection of stories, a novel or two, and a few other things!
They were chosen by Cork’s inaugural Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow, Canada’s Zsuzsi Gartner, who will be taking up her position in Cork on September 1st for three months. Ms Gethins and Mr. Brennan will have the chance to work on one-on-one with Ms Gartner.
“Both of these writers demonstrated a strong personal style and voice, as well as a subversive sense of humour,” said Ms Gartner. “They appear to be dedicated to exploring the short story form in its infinite variety of possibilities.”
“That said, it was such a tremendously difficult decision to chisel the superb short list down to only two writers,” she added, “although it wasn’t at all a chore at all to read any of the entries, which were deliciously varied and offered up a broad range of narrative delights.”
In fact, Ms Gartner found the applicants so accomplished that she wished to acknowledge two runners-up as well as encourage all the short-listed applicants to try again in 2017.
“I look very much look forward to my time in Cork, with its rich literary history, and, if the Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries are any indication, an exciting literary future. And the food, of course, I’m licking my lips thinking about the food!”
The Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member
of Words Ireland.
2017 Fool for Poetry
by John Mee
and Maya Catherine Popa
New Irish Voices
by Roisin Kelly
and Paul McMahon
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