Author Archives: Mary Morrissy

Leanne O’Sullivan wins first Farmgate Market Cafe National Poetry Award

We are delighted that the inaugural winner of the Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award is A Quarter of an Hour by our own Leanne O’Sullivan, published by Bloodaxe Books.

The award is for the best original collection published in the previous calendar year by a poet living in Ireland. Over forty titles were in contention.

The award includes a €2000 cash prize and is sponsored by the Farmgate Cafe in the English Market, Cork, and is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre.

O’Sullivan said: “I’m honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Farmgate Market Cafe National Poetry Award, particularly for this book which means so much to me. I’m grateful to the judges for choosing that book and to Kay and Rebecca of the Farmgate for all the support they have shown poetry down through the years.”

Prize judge Maurice Riordan said of the winning title, “Leanne O’Sullivan is possessed of a haunting lyric voice which, in A Quarter of an Hour, draws us into an area of surface tension where personal crisis – a husband stricken and then recovering from a deadly illness – interacts with our experience of the non-human. Dawn, the poem that gives the book its particular title and focus, captures in its evocation of the dawning world the ‘here to not here’ of becoming; and as readers we are given access throughout to that dimension between the mundane and the mythic that normally eludes articulation, but here finds expression in limpid, precise poems. At once tender, exploratory and grace-filled, this finely orchestrated collection attests to the wholeness of natural life and, resonant with folkloric wisdom, it re-awakens the spirit to a fresh sense of the mystery and precariousness of our world. It is an astonishing achievement.”

Sandra Beasley, 2019 John Montague International Poetry Fellow Reading

Photo credit Milly West



MARCH 19TH TO 23RD 2019

Full programme

Ireland’s biggest annual poetry festival kicks off next week, featuring workshops, award presentations, discussions, book launches and readings by over forty poets from America, Asia, Europe, Britain and Ireland.

Two poets based in UCC will participate:

Dr. Mary Noonan of UCC, will read on Wednesday 20th March at 10pm in Cork Arts Theatre (admission €5). Her first collection of poems – The Fado House (Dedalus Press, 2012) – was shortlisted for both the Seamus Heaney Prize for a First Collection 2013 and The Strong/Shine Award 2013.  A limited edition pamphlet, Father (Bonnefant Press) was published in 2015. She is the current poetry editor of the online literary journal Southword. Her second collection of poetry, Stone Girl, was published by Dedalus Press in February 2019.

Also from UCC – Dr. Martín Veiga will read on Thursday 21st March at 2.30pm in Cork City Library (admission free) is a lecturer in the department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University College Cork, where he is also the director of the Irish Centre for Galician Studies. He has published five award-winning poetry collections in Galician, most recently Diario de Crosses Green (2016), which Keith Payne has translated into English as Diary of Crosses Green (2018). In 2017 he received the Premio Pedrón de Honra for his trajectory in the international promotion of Galician culture.


Sandra Beasley (USA), recipient of the  2019 John Montague International Poetry fellowship, through the support of UCC, also participates. Sandra Beasley is the author of several collections, and her awards include the Barnard Women Poets Prize and the National endowment for the Arts fellowship. She reads on Wednesday 20th March at 8.30pm at Cork Arts Theatre (admission €5).


Other highlights from this year’s Cork International Poetry Festival:

Former US poet laureate Billy Collins (USA), who read for President Barack Obama, headlines a bill which also includes Paul Durcan (IRL) celebrating his 75th year, senior American poet Marie Howe, iconoclast Kim Adonizzio (USA) and some of Ireland and Britain’s leading poets.

Writer in Residence, UCC, 2019 – 2020

Writer in Residence, University College Cork 1 September 2019 – 31 August 2020

Job Posted: 08 Mar 2019
Closing Date for Applications: 03 May 2019
School: School of English 
Contract Type: Fixed Term Part-Time
Job Type: Administrative, Technical and Services
Salary: €20,000

Writer in Residence, University College Cork

1 September 2019 – 31 August 2020


Applications are invited from writers of distinction for the above role, jointly funded by the Arts Council and University College Cork.


The Writer in Residence role is designed to provide a writer with a unique opportunity to develop his/her practice in a university environment while giving members of the university community the opportunity to engage with a practicing writer.

The appointment of Writer in Residence is for one year and the successful applicant will be paid a fee of €20,000.


S/he will offer four to six contact hours per week over two semesters, providing workshops and individual consultations. The Writer in Residence will enjoy uninterrupted time to advance his/her own work during the university vacations.

The successful applicant will be expected to deliver two public readings during the course of the residency, and to become involved in the fruitful connections forged between Creative Writing programmes in the School of English and the wider writing communities and literary festivals in Cork city.


We welcome applications from writers who work in genres including but not confined to: fiction; poetry; non-fiction; playwriting; digital storytelling.


Please apply by letter or email, outlining your suitability for the role, on or by 3 May 2019, including a C.V. with details of books published. Applicants must have a strong record of high quality publications.


Informal enquiries about the post may be made to Dr. Eibhear Walshe, School of English (


Please send applications to

Interviews will be held in Cork on 5 June 2019


To Apply:

Spring date for Tom’s civil war novel

More great news on the publishing front for the MA in Creative Writing. A novel by Thomas Moore (class of 2016/17), set during the American Civil War, has been accepted by an American publisher and will appear this spring. 

A Fatal Mercy centres around events at the battle of Gettysburg that are resurrected for the novel’s hero at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the war in 1913  when 50,000 Union and Confederate veterans returned to the battlefield to remember their experiences. (Very pertinent to Irish readers during our season of civil war commemorations.)

Thomas wrote part of the novel during his MA and presented it for his thesis.  It was subsequently long-listed for the 2017 Bridport Prize for Fiction. A Fatal Mercy: The Man Who Lost the American Civil War will be published by Shotwell Publishing, based in Columbia, South Carolina, who specialize in Southern regional literature.

Congratulations to Tom, who’s well into his second novel, also on a historical theme, this time set in Tudor England.  It’s the story of an unlikely Irishman who stumbles on the answer to the greatest unsolved mystery of the time: who really murdered the two Plantagenet Princes in the Tower of London in 1485? 

Clue:  it’s not Richard the Third, apparently. 


Handel Book Launch, UCC, Tuesday 26th February, 6pm

Just a reminder that Professor Lee Jenkins will be launching The Trumpet Shall Sound,  the new novel by Director of Creative Writing in the School of English, Eibhear Walshe.

The launch takes place on Tuesday 26th February at 6pm in the School of English, O’Rahilly Building, UCC.

Below a photograph of the Dublin launch of the novel in the Royal Irish Academy with Senator David Norris.


Poetry For The Soul    

MA student Niamh Twomey writes about the February School of English reading.  Poets Paul Casey, Elaine Feeney and Liz Quirke brought the audience on a journey from Nelson Mandela’s release, through the pages of a Leaving Cert History book to the depths of human grief. 

The reading began, as all good readings should, with a Cork poet.  Paul Casey is the author of two poetry collections; Home More or Less (2012) and Virtual Tides (2016). He has also edited numerous anthologies such as the recently published ‘A Place Called Home’; a collection of poems and stories written by international writers who have made Cork their home. He is best known as the founder of Cork’s weekly poetry event ‘Ó Bhéal’ (every Monday at 9:30pm in the Hayloft above The Long Valley bar). 

He opened, quite fittingly, with two poems dedicated to Nelson Mandela on this, the 29th anniversary of his release.  His following poem “International Citizen” spoke to a universal anxiety around labelling people by their race. Yet of course, as a true Corkonian he couldn’t do a reading without mentioning our home by the Lee.  His poem about the Elysian brought smiles to the faces of everyone who has shopped in Aldi or spotted its distinctive spike from across the city.    

Next up was Elaine Feeney.  Heralding from Galway, she has published three books of poetry; Where’s Katie? (2010), The Radio was Gospel (2014), and Rise (2017).  Her work has been translated into twelve languages and she has most recently turned her attention to writing for the screen. 

She opened with a poem about horse dealers which made our skin crawl, before characteristically delving into a commentary on the female position with her poem “Pity the Mothers”.  Her hilarious introductions were almost as captivating as her brutally honest poetry.  The following poem, she explained, written on request for her Liverpool-supporting son was entitled “Ryan Giggs is a Ride”.  Her final poem was the pinnacle of her stunning performance, however.  The long poem, “History Lesson”, written in response to the glaring lack of female figures on the Leaving Cert History course, carries the audience from sharp ironic facts to heart-wrenching stories of the speaker’s ancestors.  “I spent one full hour convincing some friends that women / said poems in Ireland before / Eavan Boland.  The women friends are suspicious. / They have English degrees.”  The audience was transfixed. 

The final poet of the night was Liz Quirke, who published her groundbreaking debut poetry collection The Road, Slowly in 2018.  Originally from Tralee, Quirke now lives in Spiddal, Co. Galway with her wife and family.  She has had works published in journals such as New Irish Writers, The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, Southword and Crannóg.  She is currently working on her second collection of poems as part of her PhD in NUI Galway.

She began reading from her debut poetry collection, The Road, Slowly, which thoughtfully articulated her family relationships; how parenthood can take over and the struggle as the mother who doesn’t carry her child; « I am your mom without the biology of mothering. / All I have for you is my heart, my brain, my lists of things, / all but those nine months when I was waiting.”

For the second half of her reading she honored us with a sneak-peak of her next collection. The problem with PhD students, she told us, is when you ask them what they’re working on they’ll tell you.  But no one was complaining. These poems delved unapologetically into loss and grief.  Drawn from the tragic death of a sister at a young age and the passing of her father; the speaker in her poems was laid bare in front of our eyes in West Wing 9. 

As the reading came to an end the audience trickled out, awestruck. Paul Casey shone a light on the connection between place and identity.  Elaine Feeney humorously highlighted the lack of female voices in our History books.  While Liz Quirke’s deeply personal poetry dealt with the struggles of a lesbian mother and the heartache surrounding the death of a loved one.  This powerful group of contrasting yet equally spectacular poets made last Monday a night to be remembered.