Farmgate Café National Poetry Award

The Farmgate Café National Poetry Award was established in 2019 with sponsorship from one of Cork’s most loved restaurants, The Farmgate Café. The partnership between the Munster Literature Centre and the Farmgate received the Business to Arts 2019 Best Small Sponsorship Award. The award will be €2000 for the best full-length poetry collection in English (including translations from other languages) published in 2023, by a poet residing in Ireland. As of 2023, in a year where a debut collection does not win the overall Farmgate Café National Poetry Award, the highest scoring debut collection in the competition will be awarded the separate Southword Debut Poetry Collection Award. This award is for €1000. The three judges for this year were Afric McGlinchey, Patrick Deeley and Molly Twomey.

Limited places are available for a cosy reception at the Farmgate where Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin will receive her prize and present a short reading on May 14th.

2024 Farmgate Café National Poetry Award Winner

The Map of the World by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (Gallery Press)

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin was born in Cork City in 1942. She was a founder member of Cyphers, the literary journal (1975). Her first collection, Acts and Monuments, won the Patrick Kavanagh Award. The Gallery Press has published her nine collections of poems including The Sun-fish which won the Griffin International Poetry Prize and The Mother House (2019) winner of the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. Her Collected Poems (2020) won the Pigott Poetry Prize. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is a Fellow and Professor of English (Emeritus) at Trinity College Dublin. She served as Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2016-2019 and, in 20225, was elected a Saoi, the highest honour of Aosdána.

2024 Southword Debut Poetry Collection Award Winner

The Lookout Post by Kevin Graham (Gallery Press)

The Lookout Post, Kevin Graham’s first collection, is a book of uncommon poise and range. It includes harrowing accounts of illness, a suicide, and joyous celebrations of fatherhood and family life. Whether it’s in the extended sequence, ‘Sketches’, which draws on the letters of Van Gogh, or shorter poems which pay homage to Wendell Berry, Zinedine Zidane and Derek Mahon or ruminate on Elizabeth Bishop’s sojourn in Ireland, The Lookout Post seamlessly melds the ordinary and the literary. As the book’s title might suggest this is a collection of acutely observed reflection by an outstanding new and assured voice.


A Change in the Air by Jane Clarke (Bloodaxe Books)

Jane Clarke’s third collection is far-reaching and yet precisely rooted in time and place. In luminous language her poems explore how people, landscape and culture shape us. Voices of the past and present reverberate with courage and resilience in the face of poverty, prejudice, war and exile and the everyday losses of living. Across six sequences these intimate poems of unembellished imagery accrue power and resonance in what is essentially a book of love poems to our beautiful, fragile world. A Change in the Air follows Jane Clarke's widely praised previous collections The River (2015) and When the Tree Falls (2019).

The Solace of Artemis by Paula Meehan (Dedalus Press)

Born in 1955 in Dublin where she still lives, Paula Meehan studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and in the MFA programme at Eastern Washington University. Besides seven award-winning poetry collections she has also written plays for both adults and children. She has conducted residencies in universities, in prisons, in the wider community, and her poems and plays have been translated into many languages, including Irish. As well as new poems, The Solace of Artemis integrates Museum (2019), a sequence commissioned for the Dublin Tenement Museum, and For the Hungry Ghosts (2022), a poem cycle responding to the Hades episode of Joyce’s Ulysses.

The Swerve by Peter Sirr (Gallery Press)

Peter Sirr lives in Dublin where he works as a freelance writer, teacher and translator. Among the honours he has received are the O’Shaughnessy Award and the Michael Hartnett Award. Since Marginal Zones in 1984, The Gallery Press has published his ten collections and his Selected Poems as well as Intimate City, a collection of Dublin essays, which appeared in 2021. Peter Sirr is a member of Aosdána and is married to the poet Enda Wyley. The Swerve, his tenth collection, is Peter Sirr's first book of poems since The Gravity Wave (2019), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and winner of the Farmgate National Poetry Award.

Watching for the Hawk by Breda Spaight (Arlen House)

Breda Spaight is from Co Limerick. Her debut chapbook, The Untimely Death of My Mother’s Hens, is published by Southword Editions in the New Irish Voices series. Her debut poetry collection, Watching for the Hawk, is published by Arlen House. In 2023, she was a Forward Prize finalist for Best Single Poem Written. She holds an M.Phil. in creative writing from Trinity College and has participated in the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. Her work has appeared in Southword, Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, Cyphers, Banshee, and Ambit.

Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition

The prize reading will take place on Saturday May 18th. At this event the winning chapbooks, Levis Corner House by Partridge Boswell and Ghost Sojourn by Gwen Sayers, will be launched with readings by Partridge Boswell and Rosie O’Regan (reading the poems of Gwen Sayers). Both poets will receive a cash prize and 25 copies of their books.

Fool for Poetry Joint Winner: Levis Corner House by Partridge Boswell

Author of the Grolier Poetry Prize-winning collection Some Far Country, Partridge Boswell is co-founder of Bookstock Literary Festival and teaches at Vallum Society for Education in Arts & Letters in Montreal. His poems have recently found homes in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Southword and The Moth. He lives with his family in Vermont and troubadours widely with the poetry/music group Los Lorcas, whose debut release Last Night in America is available on Thunder Ridge Records. His Saguaro Prize-winning chapbook Not Yet a Jedi is also now a thing.

Fool for Poetry Joint Winner: Ghost Sojourn by Gwen Sayers

Gwen Sayers worked as a doctor in South Africa, Seattle, and London where she lives. Her poetry has been published widely in magazines and anthologies, most recently, Propel Magazine Issue 9 (Ed. Fran Lock), Acumen, DMQ Review, Unbroken Journal, Right Hand Pointing, and Tears in the Fence. She won First Prize in the Magma Poetry Competition in 2022, and has been a Forward Prize nominee for best single poem.

The Munster Literature Centre established the Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition in 2005. It was established as an annual prize in 2015. The competition offers writers the opportunity to have their poems published in a high-quality production from the Munster Literature Centre's publishing branch, Southword Editions. The winners receive cash prizes as well as a reading and three nights' accommodation at the festival. You can see previous winners and buy their chapbooks at the bottom the page here.

Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

The prize reading will take place on Saturday May 18th. The winner of the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition will receive €2,000 and read from a selection of her poems. Her winning poem, Before I stillbirthed the birch, will be published in issue 46 of Southword.

Katie GriffithsKatie Griffiths grew up in Ottawa, Canada, in a family originally from Ulster. Her debut collection, The Attitudes, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2021 and the prize-winning pamphlet, My Shrink is Pregnant, by Live Canon in 2019. She came second in 2018’s National Poetry Competition and was in the first of the Primers series, also from Nine Arches Press. A member of the London-based Red Door Poets, she has read her poetry at festivals in England, Ireland and Spain.

The Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition is an annual poetry competition for a single poem, named in honour of a late Irish poet long associated with the Munster Literature Centre. It's open to original, unpublished poems in the English language ofless than 40 lines on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. Submissions are accepted from August to November annually. As well as a first prize of €2,000, and publication in the literary journal Southword, if the winner comes to Cork to collect their prize, we lavish them with hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Poetry Festival.