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.
Belinda Bennetts lives in Belfast and is a therapeutic writing facilitator and author of fiction and non – fiction. Her core teaching includes writing to awaken, which guides people on an intimate journey of self inquiry and discovery to help them rediscover their true nature, authentic voice and calling in the world. She brings intuitive insight to her work with individuals and groups, and her programs are available in person and online.
She also facilitates write to wellness programs within businesses, helping individuals achieve better work/life balance and creatively deal with the common stresses of modern life.
Offers courses and workshops
Offers 1-1 coaching and mentoring
Trish Bennett grew up in County Leitrim. She moved to Northern Ireland for a year to study and was charmed into staying by a Belfast biker. They have settled themselves into a small cabin by the lake shore and try to keep the noise down in their bee loud glade.
Bennett began writing to clear her head of shenanigans. Her current focus is poetry, short stories and memoir. She also has a play and novella on the back burner. Bennett has been published in several magazines and anthologies e.g. A New Ulster, Galway Review, Ireland’s Own, The Leitrim Guardian, Number Eleven, CAP Poetry in Motion, Fermanagh Writers Anthologies and Beautiful Dragons Collaborations and has read her work on BBC Radio Ulster. She is working on her first anthology of poetry.
Bennett won the Leitrim Guardian 2018 & 2017 Literary Award for poetry, was Shortlisted for the North West Words / Donegal Creameries 2017 Poetry Competition and was long listed for the “Over the Edge ‘New Writer of the Year Award” in 2013. Blog here. Twitter here. Facebook here.
Available for school visits, festival appearances and library visits.
Available for performances, poetry, essay and short story readings.
Yvonne Boyle has been writing for a number of years and has had a range of poems published in a variety of magazines and anthologies: ‘I Will Dance Again’, the Knocklayd/Corrymeela Writers Group (2001); Literary Miscellany, Ulster Tatler (2010/11); ‘Cobalt Blue’ (the title prose poem), Dunfanaghy Writers’ Circle (2016); online anthologies including Holocaust Memorial Day Anthology (2016), ‘A New Ulster. The Hidden and the Divine: Female Voices in Ireland’ (2017); the Community Arts Partnership 2016/7 Poetry in Motion Community Anthology ‘Matter’ and her poem ‘Sydenham’ is to be included their their forthcoming anthology 2017/8.
She has had poems exhibited at Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewert and the Blueberry Art Gallery, Bangor. She is a past bursary holder for the John Hewitt International Summer School and Annaghmakerrig. She was awarded the 1st Sam Overend Award for Poets and Writers (Spoken Word Competition), Seamus Heaney Poetry House, Bellgahy Bawn (2016).
When a Social Worker, she co-ran two creative writing courses for people with mental health problems (2009/10, 2015). She worked as a CAP Artist-Facilitator in their Poetry in Motion Schools Project, September-November 2017.
Mel Bradley is a writer, performance poet, actor, queer burlesque and drag artiste based in Derry. In 2014 at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival she was a recipient of the Eva Gore Booth Award for Best Female Performance in Life and Love – Lesbian Style. She is a former All-Ireland Poetry Slam finalist and the current Tyrone Poetry Slam Champion. Performs regularly with The Monday Night Cure, Derry; Red Pill, Belfast and has been a featured performer at various festivals including Stendhal, Body & Soul, CreatEVE & Women Aloud NI.
Also in 2014 she received an award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for the writing and development of an experimental piece of performance theatre ‘You Maiden, I Mother’ with dancer Zoe Ramsey and was premiered at Echo Echo Dance and Theatre Company’s International Festival of Dance, directed by Tonya Sheina.
She is currently the Community Writer in Residence with The Rainbow Project through The Irish Writers’ Centre.
Available for school workshops, library visits, festivals
Available for performances
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 .
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.
Elizabeth Byrne is a writer and documentary filmmaker. Her short stories have appeared in the Seamus Heaney Centre’s Blackbird collection, the RE:SISTERS anthology of new YA writers from For Book’s Sake, the Honest Ulsterman and the recently published Something About Home collection of Irish and Northern Irish writers stories about migration. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University, where she’s now a PhD candidate working on her first novel, a post-apocalyptic story set in Ireland.
Elizabeth was an award-winning producer at the BBC for over ten years, making programmes for Panorama and Spotlight. She is currently developing a documentary about legendary Belfast-born jazz musician and composer Keith Donald, based on his play NewBliss. Originally from Dublin, Elizabeth is proud to call Belfast home. Her blog can be found here and Twitter 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.
Cathy Cole lives in a small Co. Down town with her husband, two sons, and Dexter, a dog who thinks he’s her third son. Cathy writes both short stories and novels. Her first short story won a national award and was broadcast on local radio. Her next took second place in the University of Winchester “Reaching Out” competition. You’ll also find her work in the 2009 and 2010 A Writers’ Christmas—anthologies published for charity. Her latest short story success was with Bridge House Publishing’s Crime After Crime anthology, released December 2012
Cathy’s debut novel Where There’s Smoke—published by Fireborn Publishing in March 2017 —was inspired by the bravery of firefighters everywhere, but especially by those who gave so much on 9-11. Cathy has drawn directly upon her family’s experience in the fire brigade in order to bring realism to her story. At the moment, Cathy is hard at work on her next novel The Hungry Ghost. Website here. Twitter here. Facebook here. Amazon author page here.
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 A former primary school teacher and graduate of the MA programme at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Stephanie won the Yeovil Poetry Prize, Funeral Service NI prize and the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing.
Her first collection, ‘The Woman on the Other Side’ is published by Doire Press and was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award for best first collection. Her pamphlet ‘Copeland’s Daughter’ won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition and is published by Smith/Doorstep. Her next collection, ‘Island’ is due to be published in May 2018. Website here. Facebook here. Twitter here. Contact here.
Available for school visits, festival appearances and library visits.
Based in Newtownards Kelly Creighton is a novelist, short story writer and poet whose books include: Bank Holiday Hurricane (Doire Press, 2017), The Bones of It (Liberties Press, 2015) and Three Primes (Lapwing, 2013). Runner-up for the McLaverty Award, Kelly has been shortlisted for numerous fiction and poetry prizes. She is one of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland ACES for 2018. Kelly is the founding editor of The Incubator literary journal, co-founder of the Square Circle Writers and secretary for Women Aloud NI. She teaches creative writing to community groups and offers 1:1 mentoring. Website here. Twitter here. Amazon author page here.
Sharon Dempsey is a Belfast based writer of fiction and non-fiction books, with four health books published. He crime debut Little Bird was released July 2017 with Bloodhound Books.
She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She tutors at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University, and did a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London. She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times.
Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories. She is also organising a crime writing conference. Amazon author page here. Twitter @svjdempz Facebook here. Blog here.
Offers creative writing workshops, mentoring, and is available for festivals, schools and library events and workshop training.
Moyra Donaldson is a published poet with over twenty years of facilitation experience. She has taught creative writing through a wide range of organisations, academic, literary, health and community and has been a constant champion for new voices. She is a mentor and creative writing facilitator for the Irish Writers Centre and mentor for Words Ireland and has mentored poets working towards a first collection. She has worked as an external assessor for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and has been a judge in the Seamus Heaney Poetry Award, the Mairtin Crawford Award and the Brian Moore Short Story Competition. Moyra has a BA in English Language and Literature and has won awards for both her poetry and short stories. She has six collections of poetry and is published and has read at Festivals in the UK, America, Australia and Europe. Her work is widely anthologised. Moyra is particularly interested in helping individuals to find their own voice and believes in encouraging both inspiration and craft in the writing process. Supportive in their design, Moyra’s classes also encourage personal and creative development. She has a wide-ranging knowledge of the literary scene, outlets for publication and other opportunities.
Originally from County Armagh, Elaine Donnelly lives on the North Coast and writes poetry, short stories and flash fiction. Elaine has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Ulster. She has been writing for a number of years and her work has been published in journals and anthologies including local publications such as The Incubator and North West Words, as well as in the collections of the Portrush Writing Group, of which she is a member.
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.