Beginner’s Pluck

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Catherine Chung

Catherine always wanted to be a poet. But, with no creative writing programmes on offer at her university, she studied mathematics instead. “I fell in love with maths. It’s so poetic. But literature felt like my…

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Maura McElhone

Eldest child of a journalist and a pharmacist, Maura loved the Arts at school. “We had a drama festival and a musical every year.” She took drama A ‘level and played the fiddle in a traditional…

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Stacey Halls

Stacey wrote and illustrated story books as a child and gave them away as presents. “I took a favourite Enid Blyton story and put myself in it. It wasn’t creative – it was plagiarism.” Daughter of…

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Ken O’Sullivan

Spending all his childhood summers, fishing, on Fenit Island, Ken has always felt at one with the sea. “I connected with it; with the seasons and the tide.” He also loved music. And when he left…

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David Brennan

David read everything he could, as a child, and in his teens he loved poetry. “I wrote my first poem when I was on detention,” he says. “I loved Emily Dickinson and John Milton, but, playing…

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Pat Marry

Pat has wanted to be a Garda since he encountered one, aged 8. He applied at 17. “They said, ‘you’re too skinny, go and get flesh on your bones – and you have to be 18…

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Jed Lynch

Jed has always been involved in something creative. “I was the youngest of 7 children. The house was full of books. I read all kinds of stuff; everything from The Mallory Towers, to Nietzsche.” There was…

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Elizabeth MacDonald

Elizabeth’s first love was music. She studied piano from aged 6 at The College of Music, and she loved singing, but not performing. “I couldn’t do it. I felt as if I was getting a heart…

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Helena Duggan

Helena wrote a lot as a small child, but at secondary school, she was discouraged because she wasn’t great at grammar or spelling. A teacher in fourth year changed all that. “She saw through my spelling…

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Lucy Sweeney Byrne

Writing is second nature to Lucy; her father was a film and music critic and her mother an English teacher who wrote. “I wrote my first book at six years old. My grandmother said they would…

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Sheila Turner Johnston

Daughter of a Methodist minister from Cork, Sheila kept moving as a child, from Cork to Birr, in County Offaly, then to Donegal, before arriving in Belfast, where her mother was from. Sheila was a librarian…

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Stephen Sexton

Stephen wrote his first poem, aged 8. “It was a strange rhyming poem about a mayfly. I didn’t write any more, after that, until the difficult teen years, when I wrote a few poems.” He was…

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