Paula Matthews is a poet with many strings to her bow who works to improve and safeguard people’s wellbeing as a social worker and a creative. Widely published, Paula has been in receipt of an Arts Council Award in theatre direction and a poetry mentorship via LitNet NI. She is trained extensively in literature’s use for mental health support and recovery. Paula provides creative workshops for this purpose and has worked extensively with mental health, learning disability, dementia and with young people with complex needs. Much of Paula’s work is confidential, but she also creates public events with a range of partners and has founded and developed new works. Paula can be contacted here or if you want to connect with her Deep Down collective for arts and wellbeing, you can find her here.
Eibhlinn McAleer is an emerging writer from Belfast. She has a special interest in flash fiction but is working on a play and her first novel at present.
Orla McAlinden is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Eludia award-winner and the winner of the BGE Irish Book Awards short story of the year. Her award-winning debut collection, The Accidental Wife [Sowilo Press], depicts the complications and contradictions of living in contested territory, through the daily lives of the extended McCann family. The Accidental Wife has been chosen by Libraries Northern Ireland as the inaugural title for The Armagh Big Read in March 2017 and is widely available to borrow through Libraries NI.
Doreen McBride learnt her stories at her Granny’s knee and hasn’t stopped repeating them! As a child she told stories to her teddy bear and anyone who’d listen. As a grown up she became a biology teacher and scared her pupils by telling them terrible tales about guts and thunder. About thirty years ago she became a professional storyteller, travelled the world on her tongue and was awarded a Silver Medal by the University of South Carolina and she thought, ‘When I die my stories’ll die,’ so she started writing them down and became addicted to illustrating them by drawing cartoons.
Freya McClements is a writer and journalist based in Derry. Her first collection of short stories, The Dangerous Edge of Things, was published in 2012 with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and her debut novel, The Living and the Dead, is due for publication in 2017. She is also a producer and documentary-maker with BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Foyle/Ulster and a literary reviewer and feature writer for the Irish Times. Freya also provides creative writing facilitation, editing, event management and PR & marketing services for the arts sector as one of the Literary Ladies.
Hilary McCollum writes both historical fiction and contemporary drama. Her first novel, Golddigger, which spans the California goldrush and the Irish Famine, won the Golden Crown Literary Society award for historical fiction in 2016. In 2014, her play, Life and Love: Lesbian Style, was nominated for best original writing at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival and won the best female performance award. She has written two verbatim plays about LGBT lives in northwest Ireland and a lesbian pirate comedy-drama, The Pirates of Portrush, which wasdeveloped with the support of the Arts Council NI and the Big Lottery. She is currently working on a novel set within the British suffragette movement which will be published in 2018. Find out more about Hilary and her writing on her website.
Margot McCuaig built a home, on farmland where her father was born, in a remote location on Rathlin Island in County Antrim, Ireland, an island that has inspired her since childhood. Her debut novel, The Birds That Never Flew, was longlisted, for the Polari First Book Prize and shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize. She is currently working on her second, The Road End, a novel inspired by islands and the bond between twins (she is a twin herself). She is a published features writer in newspaper and book chapter form and she regularly contributes flash fiction to Paragraph Planet. Her short story, F’s fir Fingers, was longlisted in the Words and Woman prose competition, and shortlisted for the Bold Types prize. She is also an award winning filmmaker and scriptwriter, having won Royal Television Society Scotland awards for her films in 2015 and 2016. She was also nominated for the same award for two additional films in 2014 and 2017, and shortlisted for a Celtic Media Bronz Torc for Excellence last year. Twitter here. Facebook here. Website here. Amazon page here.
Margot is also a mentor for a project offering free mentoring to talented up and coming female writers. You can find out more about “Womentoring” here.
Debbie [DJ] McCune was born in Belfast. She read Theology at Trinity College, Cambridge but mostly just read lots of books. Her teen fantasy trilogy ‘Death & Co.’ was published internationally by Hot Key Books. She is a regular writer and broadcaster with BBC Radio Ulster and has taught creative writing to children and adults. She is still writing teen fiction alongside a fantasy crime series for adults. She lives in Portstewart with her husband, daughter – and two cats with seven legs between them.
Vicky McFarland is a children’s writer and storyteller who re-imagines folktales, myths and legends for a modern, global audience. In 2017 she won the National Literacy Trust’s Short Story Prize. Vicky has written for the BBC, Onebillion.org, FunRadio, Anorak Magazine and is a TES author. In 2018 she launched her online digital storytelling site which specialises in quality retellings of traditional tales for children. She also performs sensory stories for children under five as well as for children and adults with special needs. In 2017 she was awarded a SIAP by Arts Council NI to develop two plays. Vicky is currently working on two novels, one for children, one for young adults. She lives in Larne with her husband and son. Contact here. Twitter here. Facebook here.
Offers workshops [for children]
Available for school visits, festival appearances and library visits
Available for performances
Belfast-based Elizabeth McGeown came to poetry from a background of music journalism and singing. She is the current All-Ulster Poetry Slam champion and has competed in the All-Ireland Poetry Slam finals in 2016 and 2017. She has been published in journals such as Panning For Poems and The Runt. Elizabeth regularly performs at Belfast’s Purely Poetry nights and has performed at festivals including Body & Soul, Sunflowerfest, C.S. Lewis Festival, Stendhal and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 she was a regular ‘cast member’ at Other Voices Spoken Word Cabaret as well as the first reserve for the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam.
Elizabeth joined Belfast’s Red Pill Spoken Word Showcase in performing at the 2015 Lingo Festival, Dublin, also qualifying in the video heats to take part in the Lingo Slam, placing third in the same competition in 2016. She was chosen as the ‘sacrificial’ guest poet at the final of the All Ireland Poetry Slam 2015, also serving on the judging panel. For International Women’s Day 2016 Elizabeth was included with six other local women to record their work as part of a playlist released by Lagan Press. Facebook here. Twitter here.
Available for festival appearances, library visits and school visits.
Bernie McGill’s novel, The Watch House, was published in 2017 by Tinder Press. She is also the author of Sleepwalkers, a collection of stories short-listed in 2014 for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and of The Butterfly Cabinet [named in 2012 by Downton creator Julian Fellowes as his novel of the year]. Her work has been placed in the Seán Ó Faoláin, the Bridport, and the Michael McLaverty Short Story Prizes and she won the Zoetrope:All-Story Award in the US in 2008. Her stories have been anthologised in The Long Gaze Back, The Glass Shore, Female Lines [all by New Island Books] and Reading the Future [Arlen House]. She has written for theatre [The Haunting of Helena Blunden, The Weather Watchers] as well as audio scripts for heritage projects. She is a recipient of a number of Arts Council of Northern Ireland awards and a grant for work-in-progress from the Society of Authors. Website here. Twitter here. Facebook here. Contact here. Amazon author page here.
Offers subsidised workshops and school visits via Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools Programme
Offers one-to-one Mentoring for manuscripts via the Irish Writers’ Centre
Offers workshops, courses and residentials in Creative Writing and Fiction Writing
Available for readings, panel discussions, library visits, festival appearances
Ellie Rose McKee has been writing poetry and short stories since primary school and been blogging for ten-plus years. She has had a number of individual works published alongside others in anthologies and journals, has self-published some collections of poetry and short stories herself, and is currently seeking representation for her debut novel. Website here. Twitter here. Facebook here. Contact here. Amazon author page here.
Offers training courses and workshops
Offers 1-1 coaching and/or mentoring
Available for school visits, festival appearances and library visits
Emma McKervey is from Holywood and studied at Dartington College of Arts. Her poetry is published in journals and anthologies including Banshee, South Word, The Compass Magazine, The Emma Press Anthology of Myth and Legend found here and the Seren Press Anthology of Motherhood (voted Wales Arts Review’s book of the year 2017) found here. Emma can be heard reading her work on the Lagan Press website for International Women’s Day 2016 here. More of her work can be read on Poethead. In 2015 she was a winner of the Translink/Poetry NI competition and longlisted for the inaugural Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers poetry competition. She was shortlisted for the FSNI National Poetry Competition 2016, and shortlisted for the Listowel Writers Week Poem of the Year as part of the Irish Book Awards. In 2017 she came joint third with herself in the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing. Her debut collection The Rag Tree Speaks was published by Doire Press in Autumn 2017. Her work has been described by Damian Smyth of the Arts Council as ‘small everyday miracles’ and by Carolyn Jess-Cooke as ‘luminous with intelligence and a restless but tender wit’.
Emma is available for readings, book groups, library visits, and festivals.
Anne McMaster is a poet, playwright, editor and arts facilitator living on an old farm in rural mid-Ulster. A finalist in the 2015 FSNI Poetry Competition and shortlisted participant in the 2016 Bangor Poetry Competition, Anne’s poetry has been published in the US and NI – in The Honest Ulsterman; 19,751 Words – an Anthology; Paper Plane Pilots; The Poetry Marathon Anthology (2014 and 2016). Her plays (25 original works and literary adaptations) have been performed in theatres and schools across NI. Anne is artistic director of Hydra – a theatre company specialising in original devised work. She is happiest spending her time writing, restoring the old Georgian farmhouse where she lives, or out in the garden trying not to kill plants. Follow Anne at www.theoldfarmatrosehill.co.uk or on Twitter here.
Shirley-Anne McMillan is an author of contemporary Young Adult fiction. Originally from Lisburn, Shirley-Anne studied at Queen’s University, Belfast (BA Hons English/PGCE) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MA in Creative Writing). She now lives in Co Down with her family where she writes, tutors, and works with the local high school. In 2014 Shirley-Anne won the SCBWI ‘Undiscovered Voices’ competition with an extract from A Good Hiding, which was published in 2016 by Atom. Her latest novel, The Unknowns (Atom, 2017) was described by The Irish Times as ‘a thought-provoking and hopeful read from a writer to watch’. Both A Good Hiding and The Unknowns are set in Belfast and deal with social issues affecting young people today such as pregnancy, violence, sexual orientation and gender, and religion. Shirley-Anne is represented by Jenny Savill of Andrew Nurnberg Associates.
Shirley-Anne can offer the following:
School/library/book club visits (readings and talks about her work, workshops)
Festival appearances (readings, talks about her work, talks on self-publishing)
Self publishing and zine-making workshops
Creative writing workshops
Contact Shirley-Anne on this email address for more information.
Martelle McPartland is a poet, playwright, editor, script writer, arts facilitator and creative writing tutor based in Lurgan, Co. Armagh. She has won many awards for her short stories, notably as a finalist in the Bridport. She is a founding member, chair and facilitator of Lough Neagh Writers.
Clare McWilliams is a mother, published poet, spoken word artist, a playwright and an experienced poetry and intercultural arts facilitator. She performs regularly on the festival circuit and likes to pop up in places where poets don’t normally tread as the Belfast Beatnik. Originally from Bangor, County Down and shaped by the sea, she now resides in Belfast and loves the opportunities the city provides for developing her artistic growth.
Jenny Methven is an artist and poet who lives in Fermanagh. She recently published her first book of poems illustrated with her art work and has had poems published in Poetry NI’s Panning for Poems, issue 4, Jan 2016 and A New Ulster’s publication The Hidden and the Divine: Female Voices in Ireland. Nov 2 2017. Jenny has an MA in Education and a MSc in Peace and Conflict. Website here. Facebook here. Twitter here.
Mary Montague has authored two collections of poetry [Black Wolf on a White Plain, Summer Palace Press, 2001; and Tribe, Dedalus Press, 2008]. She is working on her third collection and on a novel. You can find out more about Mary, who is based in Belfast, on her website.
Karen Mooney is a poet. Her writing journey was triggered by the death of her father in January 2016. Writing about life events and locations, she has published two poetry booklets to support local charities: Observations In Rhyme for Cancer Research UK; Ards Peninsula – Observations In Rhyme
Annemarie Mullan A graduate from the Queen’s Creative Writing Masters Programme, Annemarie is a member of Belfast’s Shalom Writing Group and Queen’s Writing Group and has been published in anthologies both locally and in England. She is a regular facilitator with Community Arts Partnership’s Poetry In Motion programme and runs the Clachan Open Mic on Keady Mountain.
Réaltán Ní Leannáin was born and brought up in Belfast. She now lives in Dublin. She has written poetry, prose and radio drama, mainly in Irish. She has won several awards for her short stories and poetry over the years, been published (see author page) and she broadcasts regularly on radio. She has organised Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBan, an evening of women writers in performance, in the Lord Mayor’s House in Dublin every 8th March – International Women’s Day – since 2016.
A teacher of Irish and Spanish, she has lectured in Modern Languages Education in Queen’s and Trinity College Dublin. Her personal blog has won several awards since its beginnings in 2009 and is recommended as a resource for Irish language learning by the curriculum councils in both Northern Ireland, CCEA, and in the Republic of Ireland, COGG. Her short story, Aerfort, is presently on the recommended syllabus for Junior Cycle in the Republic of Ireland.
Offers training courses and workshops, 1-1 coaching and/or mentoring
Available for school visits and library visits
Eimear O’Callaghan Belfast-born author and journalist, Eimear O’Callaghan, lives in Portstewart and is married with three grown-up children. Before writing Belfast Days: A 1972 Teenage Diary, she enjoyed a 30-year career as a journalist — most of it with the BBC, but also with The Irish News and RTE in Dublin. She now runs a media training business and works as a feature writer for the Canada-based magazine, Celtic Life International.
Maeve O’Lynn is a Belfast-based writer. She completed her PhD on Gender and Genre in NI Fiction at Ulster University in 2011. She has published work in Banshee, The Stinging Fly and Honest Ulsterman, and she wrote Hennessy New Irish Writing: September 2017’s winning story. Maeve began collaborating on the art and words Xenophon Project with visual artist Siobhan McGibbon in summer 2015. Website here. Twitter here. Facebook here.