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.Revived in 2023, the award will be €2000 for the best full-length poetry collection in English (including translations from other languages) published in 2022, by a poet residing in Ireland. Judges this year were Colm Breathnach, Eleanor Hooker and Thomas McCarthy. Limited places are available for a cosy reception at the Farmgate where the winning poet will receive their prize and present a short reading on May 16th.


Medea's Cauldron by Deirdre Brennan (Arlen House)

Deirdre Brennan was born in Dublin in 1934 and was raised in County Tipperary where she attended schools in Clonmel and Thurles. She has lived in Carlow since 1965. She studied English and Latin at UCD followed by a Higher Diploma in Education. She has published sixteen books to date, including twelve collections of poetry: I Reilig na mBan Rialta (Coiscéim, 1984); Scothanna Geala (Coiscéim, 1989), a Poetry Ireland ‘Choice of the Year’; Thar Cholbha na Mara (Coiscéim, 1993); Ag Mealladh Réalta (Coiscéim, 2000) – an Oireachtas prizewinner; The Hen Party (Lapwing, 2001); Beneath Castles of White Sail in Divas! (Arlen House, 2003); Swimming with Pelicans : Ag Eitilt fara Condair (Arlen House, 2007); Hidden Places : Scáthan Eile (Arlen House, 2011); Cuislí Allta : Wild Pulses : Rogha Dánta : Selected Poems (Arlen House, 2017); As Trunc Fernando Pessoa (Coiscéim, 2015); An Oiche ar Bheophianadh (Coiscéim, 2019); and Medea's Cauldron (Arlen House, 2022).


The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow by James Finnegan (Dore Press)

James Finnegan, Dublin born, was the second-prize winner in the 2022 Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition and was shortlisted in the 2021 Bridport Poetry Prize and in the 2018 Hennessy Literary Awards for Emerging Poetry. James, who taught in St Eunan’s College for thirty-three years, holds a doctor of philosophy in living educational theory from the University of Bath, and is now retired and has grown into a deeper commitment to reading and writing poetry since November, 2014. The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow was published by Doire Press in 2022.

Space by John Kelly (Dedalus Press)

John Kelly was born in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. His poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, and his debut collection, Notions, was published by Dedalus Press in 2018. A novel, From Out of The City, was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Bord Gáis Book Awards, and a radio play, The Pipes, was broadcast by RTÉ. He lives in Dublin where he works in broadcasting.


Jamais Vu by Paul Perry (Salmon Poetry)

Paul Perry is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of several books of poetry and prose. A winner of the Hennessy Prize for Irish Literature, he is a poet, and novelist, and Professor of Creative Writing at University College Dublin where he directs the Creative Writing Programme. A former Michener Fellow at the University of Miami, Cambor Fellow at the University of Houston, and Vice Chancellor Research Scholar at the University of Ulster, Paul has won numerous awards for his writing including the Listowel Prize for Poetry, and The Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship. His books of poetry include Gunpowder Valentine: New and Selected Poems, Blindsight and Jamais Vu.

Raised Among Vultures by Molly Twomey (Gallery Press)

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 and has been won by Molly Twomey for Raised Among Vultures (Gallery Press).

Molly Twomey grew up in Lismore, County Waterford, and graduated in 2019 with an MA in Creative Writing from University College Cork. She works as a Marketing and Development Officer for Graffiti Theatre, Cork. She has been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Banshee, The Irish Times, Mslexia and The Stinging Fly and has been chosen for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions series. She was recently awarded an Arts Council Literature Bursary.


The Church of the Love of the World by Grace Wells (Dedalus Press)

Grace Wells was born in London in 1968 and has lived in Ireland for more than 30 years. Nature, spirit of place and ecological concern have been large themes in her writing since the publication of her debut children’s novel Gyrfalcon in 2002, an International White Ravens Choice. She has published two previous collections of poems, When God has been Called Away to Greater Things (2010), winner of the Rupert and Eithne Strong Award for Best First Collection, and Fur (2015), both from the Dedalus Press. In recent times she has made a number of short eco-poetry films, or Home Movies, which may be viewed on her website.


Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition

The prize reading will take place on Saturday May 20th. At this event the winning chapbooks, War Food by Milica Mijatović and What it Costs by Tracy Gaughan, will be launched with readings by the poets. Both poets will receive a cash prize and 25 copies of their books.

Winner: War Food by Milica Mijatović

Milica Mijatović is a Serb poet and translator. Born in Brčko, Bosnia and Hercegovina, she relocated to the United States where she earned a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Capital University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University and is a recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Rattle, Plume, The Louisville Review, Poet Lore, Collateral, Santa Clara Review, Barely South Review, and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Consequence.

2nd Prize: What it Costs by Tracy Gaughan

Tracy Gaughan lives in Galway. Her poetry has appeared in Southword, Crannóg and ROPES. She was a finalist in the Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award and was selected for the Irish Writer Centre’s Mentorship Program in 2022. That same year, her poem The Wild Purge was nominated for a Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. A former poetry editor at The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, Tracy holds an MA in International Literatures from the University of Galway and is the recipient of two Arts Council Awards. Her collective anthology, Pushed Toward the Blue Hour, is published with Nine Pens Press.

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 20th.

Winner: When Our Mother Dies by Jenny Mitchell

 Jenny Mitchell won the Poetry Book Awards in 2021 for her 2nd collection, Map of a Plantation, which is on the syllabus at Manchester Metropolitan University. The best-selling debut collection, Her Lost Language, is One of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales), and her latest collection, Resurrection of a Black Man, is a Poetry Kit Book of the Month. She has won several competitions and is widely-published.


2nd Prize: Burying Grandfather by Yesol Kim

Yesol Kim is a student of literature. She lives in New York.



3rd Prize: Never by Judith H. Montgomery

Judith H. Montgomery’s poems appear in the Bellingham Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and Poet Lore, among other journals. She’s been awarded several residencies and fellowships. Her chapbook Passion received the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her second full-length collection, Litany for Wound and Bloom, appeared in 2018. Her prize-winning narrative medicine chapbook, Mercy, appeared from Wolf Ridge Press in 2019.

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.