Author Archives: Mary Morrissy

So good they launched it twice!

Congratulations to Mona Lynch (MA class 2016/17), editor of Voices,  which was relaunched today at a Travellers’ Visibility Group health and development conference at the Triskel Arts Centre. 

Voices, a book of stories by and about travellers, was curated by Mona during a writing residency at Cork Prison, as part of the MA in Creative Writing’s Business of Writing module. Students are expected to participate in a community or commercial arts/literary event and to write about the experience.  Mona chose to offer a writing workshop at Cork Prison and Voices is the very tangible literary result.

The new-look Voices, has illustrations added, and has become a valuable teaching and cultural resource since it was first published two years ago. A worthy venture all round.

Bridget’s debut collection

Another publication for the MA in Creative Writing , this time from Bridget Sprouls who was on the inaugural MA course in 2013/14.  The Remaining Years, Bridget’s first collection of poetry (though she has published two children’s books and is working on another) comes from American-based indie publisher, Kelsay Press. –

Bridget was born in New Jersey and educated at McGill University, Le Conservatoire de Musique de Québec, as well as UCC. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Belleville Park PagesFieldMap Literary, Steps Magazine, The Stinging Fly, and elsewhere. A recipient of Eyewear Publishing’s Fortnight Prize, she currently divides her time between Cape Breton and New Zealand.

The following poem of Bridget’s appeared in The New Yorker in 2016.


His sentences all ended with the word Austin,
a place I’d never seen,
so I packed a duffelbag,
overwatered the garden, and set out on foot,
the way many of the greats in my family had done,
among other rascally things.

The flutter of engines enchanted me.

Most awkward moment:
Out of cash,
bartering my eyelashes.

Thank you, bad-shot farmers, for all the pecans.
Thank you, hounds, for losing interest.

Some nights I would wake to a sweet melody grinding
like an ice-cream summons and stumble,

half-awake, trying to answer the phone in a forest.

So what if I drooled into rock receivers?
Someone needed to arrive first
and put an ear to the ground.

Someone needed to find a loft with flexible floors.

Who better to memorize the acoustics of local venues,
know which houses were haunted,
which gutters led somewhere?

I tumbled after the weeds,
eager to turn on the A.C.

and give the first tour.




Tadhg scores again!

Our MA alumnus (2015/16) Tadhg Coakley, whose debut novel, The First Sunday in September, a novel built around a fictional GAA hurling final, was published by Mercier last year, has returned to the literary pitch this year with an essay in the current edition of The Stinging Fly, Ireland’s premier literary journal. 

Curated by guest editor, writer Danny Denton, this issue features fiction, poetry and non fiction from both local, national and international names. Tadhg’s essay, part of a larger non-fiction project, is entitled “Five Moments in Sport”.  He also writes on sport for the Irish Examiner  – – and has an active blog –

Watch out for details of  Cork launch, happening on June 22.




Allihies inspires for a second year!

Allihies Inspires (July 5 – 7) is a literary festival set up by two of our MA students last year – Dee Collins, left, and Claire Zwaartman, winner of the 2018 Francis McManus Award. This year they are joined by Niamh Twomey, and Marie Haugh from the current MA class.

The festival was inaugurated last year – in association with the MA’s Business of Writing module which includes a work placement in the arts/ literary sphere.  This year’s programme features a host of interesting writers, including UCC’s Adjunct Professor, playwright and novelist Conal Creedon.

For more information go to: 

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.