Beginner’s Pluck

Helly Acton

Helly’s family lived in Zimbabwe and Saudi before settling in England when Helly was 14. “I loved reading and films, and I made up stories, but I didn’t think I’d become an author.” She worked in…

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Zoe Somerville

A prolific writer as a child, Zöe lost her confidence as a teenager. “I was too intimidated. It was, almost, as if I’d read too much!” During university holidays, she went to America, then taught English…

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Sandra Harris.

  An introverted child, Sandra spent a lot of time reading. “It was a great escape,” she says. She moved to Dublin in 1991, and from 2005, has Cared for her second child, who is autistic…

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Henry Murphy

Henry wrote a bit when he was at university, but then life intervened. “After college, I went to India with Voluntary Service Overseas. I stayed for a year, teaching English near Calcutta. When he returned, he…

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Eoin McGee

Eoin has always loved numbers. And, inspired by Ellen O’Rourke, his business teacher at school, he went on to study the subject at college. After that he joined Irish Life – a company he had cause…

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Louise Fein

Louise’s father was a lawyer who was prevented from practicing by Hitler. In England, as a refugee, he started a family business. “He never talked about the experience,” says Louise. “But he refused to speak German…

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Tamsin Calidas

Tamsin has always been drawn to the arts. “As a child I expressed myself in art and music – it was an escape from a difficult childhood. I loved words. One of my first memories was…

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Dara McAnulty

Dara has always been passionate about the natural world. “I remember, when I was very small, watching pigeons for hours. My interest developed from there.” At just 16, Dara has long been recognised for his knowledge…

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Laura Imai Messina

As a child, Laura read Fairy Tales and books by the Bronte’s; “And my mother introduced us to the Famous Five and the Secret Seven by Enid Blyton. I loved them!” Laura kept a diary, and…

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Susannah Dickie

A voracious reader, Susannah got her love of books from her grandmother; but as a child she wanted to be an artist with celebrity status. “I started writing prose poetry at university,” she says. “The poems…

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Liadan Hynes.

Liadán has always wanted to write – English was her best subject, but being shy, she hated it when her work was read out in front of the class. She wanted to be a journalist, but…

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Giles Dawnay

During university holidays Giles worked for an adventure company. He taught in Kenya, before setting up a division in Peru. He returned often, leading mountaineering expeditions. And after graduation, he worked in Ghana, then Fiji, as…

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