Cork International Short Story Festival Four-Morning Workshops September 12 - 15

Payment will be accepted by cheque/postal order (made payable to the Munster Literature Centre), by credit card via Paypal (link provided on registration), or cash (payable in person at The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork). To book your place please email or phone us at +353(0)21 431 2955.

Four Mornings Four Fiction Masters, with William Wall, Danielle McLoughlan, Simon Van Booy and Chris Power
(limited to 8 participants, cost €250)
Wednesday to Saturday 9.30am—12.30pm

This innovative four-day workshop is limited to eight participants. Each participant will have the opportunity to have a different piece of fiction scrutinised closely by a different master each of the four days. The higher cost of this workshop is down to the fact that it will be a very small class where each participant’s work will receive much individual attention.

Participants must submit four pieces of fiction in advance. Each piece must be no longer than 500 words and can consist of a complete piece of flash or an excerpt from a longer work – perhaps a passage of dialogue or a piece of description focussing on character, setting, or action. Each of the four pieces should be nominated for the attention of a particular master who will assess the pieces before the festival and devote 20 minutes to each of the pieces by the eight participants. Priority will be given to workshop applicants with a track record of publication in periodicals, but we welcome enquiries from others.

Wednesday: William Wall
William Wall is the first European Winner of the Drue Heinz Prize Literature Prize (2017). He has published five novels, most recently Grace’s Day (Head of Zeus, London, 2018), three collections of short fiction including the multi-award-winning The Islands (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017) and Hearing Voices Seeing Things (Doire Press, Galway, 2016). He is also a poet and has published four collections of poetry including The Yellow House (2017) and Ghost Estate (2011), both from Salmon Poetry, Co. Clare. His 2005 novel This Is The Country was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and he has won numerous other prizes including the Sean O’Faolain prize for short fiction. His work has been translated into many languages and he translates from Italian. More information at

Thursday: Danielle McLaughlin
Danielle McLaughlin’s stories have appeared in various journals, newspapers and anthologies, including The New Yorker, The Irish Times, Southword, The Penny Dreadful, Long Story Short and The Stinging Fly. They have also appeared in various anthologies, such as the Bristol Prize Anthology, the Fish Anthology and the 2014 Davy Byrnes Anthology, and have been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. Her debut collection of short stories, Dinosaurs On Other Planets, was published in Ireland in 2015 by The Stinging Fly Press and in the UK and US in 2016 by John Murray and Random House.

Friday: Simon Van Booy
Simon Van Booy is the award-winning and best-selling author of seven books of fiction, and three anthologies of philosophy. He has written for the New York Times, the Financial Times, NPR, and the BBC. His books have been translated into many languages. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. In 2013, he founded Writers for Children, a project which helps young people build confidence in their storytelling abilities through annual awards.

Saturday: Chris Power
Chris Power lives and works in London. His 'Brief Survey of the Short Story' has appeared in the Guardian since 2007. His fiction has been published in The Stinging FlyThe Dublin Review and The White ReviewMothers is his first book.


Making the Story Physical: the importance of physical things in the unfolding of character and story, with Frank O'Connor International Fellow Carys Davies
(limited to 15 participants, cost €150)
Wednesday to Saturday 9.30am—12.30pm

SOLD OUT - taking names for waiting list

"A story begins as a blind groping in the dark – for something, anything, both resonant and concrete" – Nell Freudenberger

With a combination of creative writing, collaborative analysis, and feedback, this workshop will focus on the question, ‘How can physical objects and details develop character, locate a story in time and place, and provide structure and meaning?’ Each morning we’ll start by reading a great story, followed by group analysis and discussion, creative writing exercises, and feedback in a positive and trusting creative environment. Participants should bring a sample of their own writing.

DAY 1: Character
Text: The Wedding Ring by Bernard MacLaverty
We’ll analyse how MacLaverty brings us an unforgettable cast of characters in this devastating drama of snobbery and forbidden love with not much more than a pair of tweezers and an embroidery scissors, some starch and some cutlery and a couple of goffering irons.

DAY 2: Time
Text: Tricks by Alice Munro
We’ll examine how Munro weaves a story that unfolds across decades; how she creates a unified and heart-breaking tale about chance and coincidence, regret and lost opportunities around coffee and goulash and clocks and "a tight-waisted, full-skirted dress of avocado-green polished cotton, with the rows of little tucks around the hips."

DAY 3: Place
Text: Hard Times by Ron Rash
We’ll unpick the building of a sense of place by examining how Rash, in this tale of hunger and poverty, quickly establishes such a distinctive geography with a small and selective group of physical descriptors.

DAY 4: Structure & Meaning
Text: The Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald
We’ll analyse how a short story earns its ending: at how Fitzgerald brings us – with the help of some tea leaves and a convict’s lice-ridden hood – the regrets and betrayals, longings and broken promises of three entire lives. Also in this final session, we’ll put aside 20 minutes for participants to reflect on what they’ve learned, and what they want to achieve with their writing.

Carys Davies' short stories have been nominated for many other awards, including the Sunday Times/EFG Short Story Award and the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Prize. They have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and widely published in magazines and anthologies, including GrantaThe Dublin Review, Head LandLove, Loss & The Lives of Women: 100 Great Short Stories, New Welsh Short StoriesPloughsharesThe Royal Society of Literature Review, and The Stinging Fly. Her non-fiction has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, GrantaThe GuardianThe London Evening Standard, Marie Claire, the Sunday Telegraph and The Times. She has curated the short fiction programme at Lancaster Litfest, given talks and taught writing at universities, festivals, literary salons and libraries across the UK and in Ireland. Recent festival appearances include the Cork International Short Story Festival, the London Short Story Festival, the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the Vancouver Writers Festival, and York International Women's Festival.


Additional Information
Our workshop venue has wheelchair access. If you have limited mobility, please let us know in advance so we can arrange to make the experience as pleasant as possible for you. Every effort will be made to make sure that the programme proceeds as advertised but the Munster Literature Centre accepts no responsibility for changes made due to circumstances beyond our control—refunds will be given only if a workshop is cancelled. As workshops sell out, notification of such will be posted on this page.