Heather Richardson is an historical novelist, short story writer, poet and memoirist. She is one of three featured writers in Short Story Introductions 1 (Lagan Press 2007), and had a story included in Brace: A New Generation in Short Fiction (Comma Press 2008). Her fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction has also been published in magazines in the UK, Ireland, Europe and Australia, including Stinging Fly, Meniscus, Incubator and the European Journal of Life Writing. In 2000 she was winner of the Brian Moore Short Story Award. Her first novel, Magdeburg, (Lagan Press 2010) is set in Germany during the Thirty Years War, and her second, Doubting Thomas, (Vagabond Voices, 2017) tells the story of Thomas Aikenhead, the last man to be executed for blasphemy in Britain.
Available for festival appearances and library visits.
Paula Ryder, originally from Crossgar, Co. Down, now lives in Antrim with her husband and Special Needs daughter, Katie. Also mother to Catherine, Paula is a Classroom Assistant for Special Needs Adults at the Regional College in Ballymena. After writing poetry in private for twenty years, she decided to take classes at the Crescent Arts Centre to learn more about the art form and has since been published. She hopes to be writing for many years to come.
Claire Savage is a writer from the North Coast, with short stories published in The Lonely Crowd and The Incubator journals, SHIFT Lit – Derry magazine, The Launchpad journal for children and The Ghastling. Her debut children’s novel, Magical Masquerade, launched at the Belfast Book Festival 2017 and was also part of the Dublin Book Festival and Derry’s SBOOKY Festival in 2017.
Claire’s poetry has appeared in the Abridged journal, Community Arts Partnership (CAP) poetry anthologies (2014/15), the Co Derry Post newspaper and poetry e-zine, A New Ulster. Another poem is included in an anthology in memory of Seamus Heaney. She was further chosen as one of Lagan Online’s 12NOW (New Original Writers) for 2016/17.
In November 2017 Claire was awarded a National Lottery grant from the Arts Council NI. This will support her in drafting her second novel, in artistic production/promotion and in creating a support structure for her Magical Masquerade. She previously received a similar grant from the Arts Council NI in 2014 which supported her in writing a collection of short stories and one of poetry.
Available for festival appearances, school, library and other visits.
Lara Sunday is an East Belfast based poet whose recent poems explore her experience of studying Irish through the lens of contested identities. More generally her work reflects her interests in nature, food and sex and the places where these topics intersect. Lara runs ‘The Poetry Review-Tullycarnet Library’, a monthly poetry evening dedicated to the encouragement of poetry reading and the use of local libraries in Northern Ireland. Lara won the Bangor Poetry Competition 2014 by public vote and has been published in FourXFour Poetry Journal, Derry Post and Bushmill’s Whiskey and Words 2018. An active member of Women Aloud, Purely Poetry and the FSNI showcases, she won a scholarship to the John Hewitt International Summer School in 2015. In 2018, Lara will be taking part in Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBan, a performance held at the Lord Mayor’s House Dublin on the 8th March to celebrate International Women’s Day. Concurrently, Lara is a full time Social Anthropology student at Queen’s University whose thesis work examines the impact the Irish language has on Protestant Irish language learners. Twitter here.
Jane Talbot is a writer and storyteller based in County Antrim. Jane’s first book, The Faerie Thorn and Other Stories [Blackstaff Press, 2015], is a collection of seven dark faerie tales set in Northern Ireland’s beautiful North Coast area. Stories from her collection are being adapted for the stage by Big Telly Theatre Company. The stage production, called The Faerie Thorn, will be touring the UK and Ireland April-June 2017. You can visit Jane’s website here. When Jane is not writing, she runs a coaching and training business. She is also the founder and overall project manager of Women Aloud NI.
Catherine Tinley writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, and dog and can be reached via her website here , on Facebook here and Twitter here.
Available for school visits, festival appearances and library visits.
Csilla Toldy was born in Budapest. She escaped from socialist Hungary as a teenager in 1981. After a long odyssey in Europe she finally moved to the UK with a writer’s visa to work on films. She has an MA in creative writing for film and television and her scripts won the Katapult Prize and Hartley-Merrill Prize. In 2007 she made a documentary about the Hungarian origins of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses by James Joyce. “The Bloom Mystery” featured at Bloomsday Festivals in Hungary, UK, Ireland and Canada.
Csilla’s writing was supported by The Art’s Council, Newry and Mourne Council an the Centre for Creative Practices as well as the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin. Her short fiction and poetry appeared in numerous UK, Irish, Canadian and Australian literary magazines and anthologies and she has published several books of poetry with Lapwing Belfast. At present, Csilla is working on her second novel with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She is a sporadic blogger, but writes about all things literary – especially her own passions and intercultural adventures in theatre, poetry and more.
Shelley Tracey is a poet and community arts facilitator. She was Artist in the Community (Arts Council NI Award) in 2015, with an intercultural creative writing project, A Write to a Sense of Belonging. You can visit Shelley’s creativity blog here.