Sonia Abercrombie Belfast-born poet Sonia Abercrombie studied creative writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre and has been selected to read for Poetry Ireland Introductions. She has written for theatre and her poems have appeared in the ‘Ringing the Changes’ Anthology; Fortnight Magazine and the Stony Thursday Book.
Julie Agnew has been a member of Flowerfield Writers [Portstewart] for over 10 years. Julie’s work has been shortlisted for the Northern Woman fiction competition [short story and poetry]. She has also contributed to the ‘Sense of Place’ writing project. You can find Julie on Twitter here.
Claire Allan is an Irish Times bestselling author of eight novels – her latest being ‘Still You’. She is also a journalist and columnist with the Derry Journal and one half of the multi-media initiative ‘The Mammy Monologues’. You can find out more about Claire by visiting her website.
Lesley Allen [Richardson] lives in Bangor with her teenage daughter, Aimee. She is the press officer and assistant programmer for Open House Festival. Her first novel, The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir, was published in November 2016 by BonnierZaffre’s debut fiction imprint, Twenty7 Books. Lesley was named as one of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s 2016 Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) recipients for literature. She is represented by The Feldstein Agency.
Dianne Ascroft writes historical and contemporary fiction with an Irish connection. Her new series, The Yankee Years, is a collection of novels and short reads, set in World War II Northern Ireland. The history of her adopted country inspires the stories of the urban Canadian, who has settled in Fermanagh with her husband and an assortment of strong willed animals. Online she lurks here and you can follow her on Twitter here.
Rachel Barber is a qualified speech and language therapist, graduating from the University of Ulster in 2009. She currently works with acute stroke patients and adults with acquired brain injury. Rachel began her writing career as a regular blogger with women’s lifestyle website “Handbag Fairy”. She is now a regular features writer for the Newtownabbey and Lisburn In Touch magazines and is a founding member of the Square Circle writers group. Rachel lives in Newtownards with her husband, Andy.
Kathryn Baird started writing after 20 years working for the BBC in Belfast and London, producing arts, drama and education programmes for radio and television. Her poem, ‘Paddy’, was short-listed for the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing and she has had work published in The Angry Manifesto, On the Grass When I Arrive and as part of the DeathBox project. Kathryn production-managed the inaugural John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival.
Belinda Bennetts lives in Belfast, where she writes fiction and non-fiction. Her first book was ‘Fear to Love – An Inner Journey Home’ [Jan 2016], a memoir. She is currently working on a novel set in Belfast and Rhodesia, plus a short story collection. When she’s not writing, she works as a therapist and coach, and facilitates ‘Write to Awaken’ workshops and courses. You can find out more about her at www.belindabennetts.uk
Trish Bennett grew up in County Leitrim. She moved to Northern Ireland to study and was charmed into staying by a Belfast biker. Trish writes poetry, short stories and memoir essays. She has been published in several magazines and anthologies and read her work on BBC Radio Ulster. She was long listed for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award in 2013 and won the Leitrim Guardian 2017 Literary Award for poetry. Find out more on Bennett’s Babblings.
Angela Boyle Having recently taken early retirement as a nurse manager with the health service, Angela Boyle has more time in her life to take up things that interest her. She has always been interested in writing short stories and poems and hopes now to let her imagination fly! She is in the early stages of this renewed interest and recently joined Lough Neagh Writers. She has written some short stories and poems and is considering joining a creative writing course in the near future.
Mary Boyle has been writing poetry for ten years. She has had poetry published in the Dundalk Democrat and enjoys writing in both rhyme and free verse. She lives just outside Portadown but is originally from Blackrock, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Much of her poetry is based around growing up in a seaside village and the local town.
Maureen Boyle completed a Masters in Creative Writing at QUB in 2005 with Medbh McGuckian. She has been the recipient of a numerous awards, bursaries and prizes; and her work has appeared in Fortnight, From the Fishhouse, The Honest Ulsterman, Poetry Ireland Review, The Yellow Nib. She teaches Creative Writing with the Open University and English in St Dominic’s Girls’ School in Belfast. [Image courtesy of Malachi O’Doherty]
Yvonne Boyle is a recently retired social worker and former Deputy Mayor of Coleraine. She has been writing for a number of years and has had a number of poems published in a variety of books and magazines. Some of her new poems are included in the forthcoming ‘Blue Cobalt’ [Dunfanaghy Writers’ Group, April 2016]
Mel Bradley is a writer, performance poet, actor and queer burlesque artiste based in Derry. She won the Eva Gore Booth Award for Best Female Performance at Dublin Gay Theatre Festival 2014 and is the current Tyrone Slam Champion. Her writing is mainly focused for performance in a style that very much speaks to the audience directly, making them “witnesses” to her experiences.
Toni Bradley is semi-retired and is a member of the Flowerfield Writers’ Group in Portstewart. She enjoys writing memoir and semi-autobiographical pieces, mostly in the form of short stories or poems.
Olive Broderick Originally from Co. Cork, Olive Broderick travelled to Northern Ireland to undertake the Creative Writing MA at QUB, settling in Downpatrick in 2003. In 2009, she was one of the Poetry Introduction series readers and won a Henessy X.O. Literary Award, Emerging Poetry Category for the same year. Her first publication – pamphlet ‘Darkhaired’ [Templar Poetry, 2010] – was short-listed for the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets. More recently, her work has appeared in the FourXFour Poetry Journal (Issue 7, 2014) and the Honest Ulsterman. She hosts a monthly writers’ group at the National Trust Castle Ward property. Visit Olive’s website here .
Jenny Brien is a woman of transgender experience. Her poems and short stories look for unexpected grace in strange and neglected places. Sometimes they find it.
Kerry Buchanan spent many years as a veterinary surgeon. Since then, she has been a veterinary sub-editor for a company that provides educational software for vets, she’s taught ICT, and now she runs a small business looking after other people’s horses. Living in rural County Down with her husband, three almost-grown-up children and a menagerie of animals, she took up writing in Spring 2014. Kerry has had lots of short stories published, both online and in print, and is currently subbing her fantasy novel, The Blacksmith’s Apprentice to publishers. Visit Kerry’s website to find out more about her and her writing.
Pauline Burgess is passionate about children’s literature – as a writer, as a teacher and as a parent. Pauline has been writing for almost 15 years and in that time has written a series of books for 5-9 year olds [Pony Friends Forever – Blackstaff Press], has had multiple short stories published, and has received two awards from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in recognition of her writing for children.
Tina Burke is a retired nurse manager. She spent 30 years in nursing which she loved. She now spends a lot of time exploring her creative side. She writes poetry, makes jewellery, knits and bakes! She also runs a creative writing class in Limavady which she loves.
Erin Burnett Having enjoyed writing and reading fantasy from a young age, Erin Burnett wrote her first semi-readable novel on a school computer when she was thirteen. Since then she has joined Belfast Writers’ Group and strives to improve her writing. Thanks to her long-suffering publisher, her debut novel [Liza’s Avenger] was released in 2015. In addition to writing, Erin enjoys cycling and travelling. Of the 58 countries she has visited, her favourite is Japan. She is currently a sixth-form student and lives with her wonderfully supportive family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She aspires to study theology at university level.
Laura Cameron is a poet and founder of The Dead Shy Poets’ Society, based in Belfast. Her poems have been published in local anthologies, including Community Arts Partnership anthologies 2013, 2014 and 2015. She was long-listed for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing in 2015. Laura was recently invited to read her work at a Patient and Client Council event promoting miscarriage awareness.
Christina Campbell has a background in education and human rights law. She has worked at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda where she was involved in a setting up a teacher training programme and assisting with recording women victims’ testimonies. Christina has always been writing. She was awarded a scholarship to the Eastern Washington Writers’ Summer School. She is particularly interested in the short story as a literary form.
Julieann Campbell is a poet and creative writing facilitator who published her first solo collection of poetry, Milk Teeth, in 2015. Her first non-fiction book, Setting the Truth Free: The Inside Story of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign won the 2013 Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize. Julieann is a former Chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust.
Jan Carson is a writer and community arts development officer currently based in Belfast. Her first novel, “Malcolm Orange Disappears” was published by Liberties Press in June 2014. Her short stories have appeared in journals such as Storm Cellar and The Honest Ulsterman. In 2014 she was a recipient of the Arts Council NI Artist’s Career Enhancement Bursary. Her collection of short stories, “Children’s Children”, will be published by Liberties Press in March 2016. You can find out more about Jan and her writing here.
Deirdre Cartmill has published two poetry collections : The Return of the Buffalo [Lagan Press] and Midnight Solo [Lagan Press]. She is also an award winning screenwriter and playwright. Her plays toured NI as part of Terra Nova’s Arrivals 1 and 2. Her short film Two Little Boys was selected for The Belfast Film Festival 2013. She is currently part of the Corners European intercultural project Bridging the Silence which gives a voice to survivors of abuse and political violence. She is an experienced writing mentor and tutor. Visit Deirdre’s website here.
Alex Catherwood attended courses at London’s Faber Academy in 2012/13 and now writes full time. Her first short story L’Allumeuse won the 2012 Writers Retreat Competition. Her next story, Sandman Of The Creagh was published in the well-received Vanguards Anthology in October 2015 alongside works from writers Hanif Kureishi, Stuart Evers, Maria Fusco, Tom Lee and Joanna Walsh. She enjoys flash fiction and has been runner up in various competitions. She is currently editing her first novel and commutes between Belfast and London.
Helen Clarke is a single mum of two, currently working as a life coach but formerly an English and Drama teacher. She was a recipient of a writer’s residency at Tyrone Guthrie Centre and of the Joint Sectoral Dramaturgy Award for the script development of Music Hall Girl, a modern opera for which she is composer and librettist. Helen has written two novels, as of yet unpublished, and writes poetry and short stories. She is also the founder and facilitator of Greencastle Writers’ Support Group, a forum set up to support, nurture and encourage emerging local writers. Originally from Derry, Helen is now based in Donegal.
Jenny Cleland has twice been a finalist in both the Belfast heat of the All Ireland Poetry Slam and the Belfast Book Festival Poetry Slam. Jenny has headlined A Little of What You Fancy and performed in the Belfast Arts Festival, Culture Night, The Poetry and Pints Festival, Sunflower Festival, Stendhal Festival, and Lingo Festival. She has been shortlisted for the Grace Dieu Writer’s Circle Short Story Award, with poetry published in Juju, FourXFour and Time In Magazine. Her first poetry book is due for release in March 2016 with Pen Point’s Press.
Roisin Coleman is based in Newtownards and is co-founder of the Square Circle writing group. Drawing inspiration from her 6 year-old son, her passion is writing for young children. She has a particular interest in quirky rhyme.
J. S. Comiskey [Julie] is a novelist from Banbridge, County Down. She graduated from Queen’s University in 2000 with a degree in English and politics before undertaking postgraduate studies in journalism at the University of Ulster. During her career, Julie has worked as a journalist across the platforms of print and broadcast. Her first book, Solstice – The Goddess Awakens, was published in December 2014. Julie is currently writing the second in the up-and-coming contemporary fantasy trilogy
Stephanie Conn is a prizewinning poet. Her debut collection ‘The Woman on the Other Side’ is published by Doire Press. Her Poetry Business pamphlet ‘Copeland’s Daughter’ is published by Smith/Doorstep. For more go to stephanieconn.org
Sinead Coxhill is a member of the Portrush Writers’ Group and has been writing for about 15 months. She writes about life events, nature and countryside pursuits.
Jane Coyle is an arts journalist, playwright and critic, who regularly contributes to the Irish Times, The Stage, Culture Northern Ireland and the BBC. Her second play The Suitcase was premiered at the 2015 Belfast International Arts Festival, winning the Audience Award. It will be produced in Vienna this autumn. Her new play Both Sides will premiere at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in May and will tour in September.
Kelly Creighton is the author of The Bones of It [Liberties Press ] . Her work was runner-up for the Michael McLaverty Award, shortlisted for the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, the Fish Short Story Prize, the Cuirt New Writing Prize for fiction and highly commended for the Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Prize. Kelly edits of The Incubator literary journal. You can visit her website here and find her on Twitter here.
Helen Daniel trained as a nurse and then moved sideways into mental health work. After exciting adventures in various arts and crafts, she has returned to her first love – writing. Egged on by fellow wordsmiths, she reflects, rants and eulogises about ‘life as we know it’.
K. A. Denver is based in County Antrim. A writer of Adult, New Adult and Young Adult fiction, her first novel, The Guardians: Forest of Ancestors, was published in 2016. She is currently working on the first draft of her novella series, The Grimoire Prophecies. The second book in The Guardians series will be published in early 2017. Find out more about K. A. Denver and her work on her website.
Deirdre Devine was born in the village of Culdaff in County Donegal and now lives just outside Derry. A member of the Limavady writing group for many years, she has contributed poetry to several anthologies and publications. Her first poetry collection In Applause was published in 2014.
Lorraine Devlin is an English teacher, passionate about issues of mental health and LGBTQA+ representation. Much of her poetry and short stories deal with themes of identity and acceptance. She also writes YA fantasy under the pseudonym Ziv Gray, and published her first novel, Rise of the Darkwitch, in 2016.
Carol Doey Originally from Stewartstown, Co.Tyrone, Carol Doey is a writer, playwright, and manager of The Hub in Cookstown. A tireless community worker, Carol has been awarded a number of awards including the B.E.M spirit award of N.I. Carol has written and produced two plays, Fair Play To Ye and Don’t Die Wondering. She is presently working on her third play, Til kids Do Us Part, which will be on stage in various venues in November 2016.
Moyra Donaldson is an award-winning poet and experienced creative writing facilitator from County Down. She has published seven collections of poetry. Also widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies in both Europe and the USA, her latest project was a collaboration with photographic artist Victoria J Dean, resulting in an exhibition and publication. Moyra blogs here .
Patricia Donnelly has a background in social work and counselling. She practises as a psychotherapist and has published articles on the subject of trauma and attachment. Patricia is interested in local and community history and is a committee member of the Enniskillen Castle Museum. She enjoys giving talks to local history groups and has published articles in the ‘Enniskillen in the Rare old Times’ annual publication.
Jenni Doherty Originally from Greencastle, Co Donegal, now based in Derry, Jenni is the recipient of two ACNI SIAP Awards [2011 & 2013] and winner of the Inaugural Noelle Vial Tyrone Guthrie Bursary Award 2013. Her debut collection [poetry and prose], Rain Spill, was published by Guildhall Press in 2012, and she is currently working on her second collection [due 2017]. She’s the owner of Derry’s second largest bookshop, Little Acorns Bookstore, and has performed at various festivals and literary events throughout Ireland, the UK and Australia. Jenni is a regular contributor to both print and broadcast media.
Anne Doughty was born in Armagh City, spent much of her childhood in the countryside and composed stories even before she could write. It was only in 1974, married and living in Manchester, that she wrote her first novel, Stranger in the Place, set in Belfast and Clare in 1960. Finally publishing in 1997, she returned to Belfast with her historian husband in 1998 and has since written the nine volumes of the Hamilton’s Series. A prequel, set against the Famine in Ulster will be published in May 2016.