Maria Hoey

Maria left school at 16 and took an office job in Swords. “I always hated school. I took my Leaving Certificate myself,  in 1979.” She married at 20, had a daughter at 21, but two years…

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Julie Parsons

BACK in 1998, Julie Parsons was something of a trailblazer. Her debut crime novel, Mary Mary, showed that Irish women could achieve international success with literary, yet very grisly crime fiction. Move on 19 years —…

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Faith Hogan

Faith wrote poems as a teenager, but as an adult got diverted. She has worked as a model, and in Penneys, and whilst taking her degree did a stint in arts administration, but since graduating, has…

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Debut Roundup. July/August

Inch Levels. Neil Hegarty. Head of Zeus. Going against trend, Inch Levels is a quiet meditative debut, though this isn’t immediately apparent. The opening prologue describes a crime scene. An eight year old girl, cycling home…

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Residency at Cill Rialaig

Many thanks to the Irish Writer’s Centre and the Arts Council for choosing me as one of the seven writers to have a 10 day residency at Cill Rialaig in wildest Kerry in November. I gather…

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Elizabeth Strout

AT a recent literary event, a young pregnant woman approached the author Elizabeth Strout, and said she felt scared. “She said, ‘I’m about to have a baby for the first time. I’ve read your books and…

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Jon McGregor

JON MCGREGOR was just 26 when he published his first novel back in 2002. When If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, he was delighted, if surprised. But when two…

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Eithne Shortall

Eithne has always wanted to achieve things young. She was first published aged 11, receiving £20 for a poem. At 21, she joined The Sunday Times, but took a break after a year to live in…

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Phil Harrison

Brought up in the Presbyterian background in Belfast, Phil wanted to be a footballer – he played at a high amateur level throughout his twenties. Meanwhile, he worked for a consultancy, leaving after two years in…

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Andrea Mara

Andrea’s family moved around a lot; from Mallow to Tullamore; to Carrigaline, and finally, to Dublin. Andrea has always believed in the power of words. She debated at school, but went on to work as a…

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Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney has always written fiction, but she concentrated on poetry in her teens. When she took her Masters at Trinity, she was working in two different jobs. “I worked in a restaurant, and at Trinity,…

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Sheena Kamal

THE first time Sheena Kamal lived in Vancouver she hated the city. Wanting the cheapest possible rent, she lived in the wrong part of town, an area she describes as the heroin capital of Canada, and…

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