About the festival:

The Munster Literature Centre


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 was recognised as the single biggest prize for a short story collection in the world. While the O'Connor Award was discontinued in 2016, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellowship was introduced in its place. The Fellowship aims to bring a talented and accomplished international writer to Cork in order to present fresh learning opportunities to local writers, bringing new energy to the local literary scene.

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 short story festival. The centre also hosts the Cork Spring Poetry Festival each year.






Fiction Prizes, Fellowships & Bursaries



Sean O Faolain Competition

Frank O'Connor Fellowship

The Seán Ó Faoláin Prize



Sean O Faolain Prize


Announcing the 2017 winners of the Seán Ó Faoláin Competition


1st Prize goes to "What Feminism Is" by Louise Nealon from Co. Kildare, Ireland. Her winning story, along with the second prize winner “Dear Miss Jacobs” by Paul Byall from Georgia, USA, and four shortlisted stories will be published in the winter edition of Southword Literary Journal. ("Cicada" by Dean Gessie, "One More Chance at the Night" by Rory Duffy, "The Ballad of Apollo" by Daniel Shand and "Fast-forward" by Tatiana Duvanova).

The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition, established in 2002, is an annual short story competition open to writers from around the world, submissions accepted from May to July annually. It is dedicated to one of Ireland’s most accomplished story writers and theorists, sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre. If the winner comes to Cork to collect their prize, we will lavish them with hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (13 - 16 September 2017). The Munster Literature Centre is a not-for-profit organisation; all moneys raised from the competition benefits writers and writing.


First Prize: €2,000

(approx $2308/£1583 in May 2016), publication in the literary journal Southword, AND a week-long residency at Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat

Second Prize: €500 and publication in Southword.

Four more shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive a publication fee of €120.






The Frank O'Connor International Short Story
Fellowship & Bursaries

2017 Fellow Marie-Helene Bertino


The Munster Literature regrets to announce that the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award has been discontinued. The award was established in 2005 in an effort to increase the profile of the short story form on the literary scene, and to reward those who were judged to have written the best collection of stories that year.

The Munster Literature Centre, however, 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.

Marie Helene Bertino is the 2017 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow. Her debut novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT'S PAJAMAS was a Best Book of 2014 from NPR, Buzzfeed, and many others. Her collection of short stories SAFE AS HOUSES was the recipient of The Iowa Short Fiction Award (judged by Jim Shepard) and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize. Awards include the O. Henry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, Mississippi Review's Story Prize, and several fellowships. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, Guernica, and many others. 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.

There are two Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursaries which consist of fees-free mentoring by the Frank O’Connor International Fellow. Applications are now closed for the bursaries, and this year's recipients will be announced at our Fellowship page at munsterlit.ie .

Writers who wish to apply for the 2018 Frank O'Connor International Fellowship will find more information and guidelines at the Munster Literature Centre website: munsterlit.ie

Marie Helene Bertino will also be teaching a four day master class during the festival, details of which are available on our workshops page.