Beginner’s Pluck

Molly Aitken

Molly didn’t learn to read until she was 10. “But at my Steiner school I was focused on art and stories. I forced my friends to do theatre and puppets. I loved directing and controlling them.”…

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Michelle Gallen

As a child Michelle wanted to be an artist and live in her parent’s attic, but she failed to get into art college. A child of the troubles, Michelle won quite a few short story and…

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Ben Halls

Ben didn’t read much as a child, but he loved making up five-part dramas for his action figures. After school Ben worked in pubs and off licenses, working for the minimum wage. He also played in…

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Stephanie Hickey

Stephanie enjoyed a wonderful carefree childhood in the Irish tradition, with lots of music in the house; but when her sister married, her brother-in-law started to abuse her. Leaving school in 5th year she took a…

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Francine Toon

As a young child Francine lived in Canterbury, London and Portugal, but at nine, she moved to the Scottish Highlands, before finally settling in Fife. “I loved the highlands and found it inspiring. Friends at school…

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Jeanine Cummins

Jeanine lived in Belfast after college, “bar tending and writing terrible poetry.” After two years she moved to New York and worked at Penguin books for ten years. “I was there when I published my memoir…

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Pat O’Connor

Pat has always written, but he also loved fishing, boating and sports as a child. “When I read swallows and amazons I felt I should have a go at writing about my own life. I started…

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Caelainn Hogan

Caelainn had a wonderful English teacher, and has always been interested in writing, but for years she assumed she’d become a fiction writer. “I won a Hotpress Music Journalism competition in my Leaving certificate year,” she…

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Eoghan Egan

A lifelong reader, Eoghan has been writing since he was ten years old. “My father was a farmer and a rent collector. My earliest memory is of sitting his knee and him reading stories to me.”…

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Beth Morrey

Beth has always wanted to write. Aged 5, she wrote a long story about Icarus. And though she tried to write during her twenties, she wasn’t ready. And besides she hadn’t the time. “After university, I…

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Ronan Hession

Rónán discovered books when he read his way through the Intercert list. He wrote poetry, and articles for the school magazine, but from his mid-teens became immersed in music. “I released three albums as Mumblin’ Deaf…

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Helen Cox

Helen has always wanted to write, but her parents encouraged her to study something more practical, so she settled on psychology, but followed it with an MA in Creative Writing. After college she moved to London…

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