Munster Literature Centre
Ionad Litríochta an Deisceart

John Montague International Poetry Fellowship & Mentorship Bursaries

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

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.

Selection Criteria

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. Shortisted poets may subsequently need to supply copies of their books and submit to interview by Skype.

Selection Process

A shortlist of up to a dozen candidates will be selected by the Creative Director of the Munster Literature Centre and subsequently assessed by a panel consisting of Patrick Cotter, the Creative 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.

Mentorship Bursaries

This will be an opportunity for two Cork poets to be mentored by the International Poetry Fellow between February and April. 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.

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.

Previous Fellows

Paula Bohince
2020 Montague Fellow

Sandra Beasley
2019 Montague Fellow

Brian Turner
2018 Montague Fellow