Marcus Connaughton is a veteran of the Irish record industry. In the late 1980s’ he joined RTÉ, as a radio producer where he has produced a wide range of programming from the Metal Show on 2FM to Bluestime on RTÉ Radio 1. In recent years, he is perhaps better known for presenting Seascapes, RTÉ Radio 1’s maritime programme. Marcus has produced Seascapes since 2002 and has presented and produced the programme for the past eight years. Marcus is also author of the critically acclaimed biography, Rory Gallagher His Life and Times published by The Collins Press and Sailing By Celebrating 25 Years of Seascapes published by The Liffey Press.
Kieran is a native of Charleville, North Cork. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Sociology (2001) and Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Sociology (1999) from NUI Maynooth. Kieran also obtained a Higher Diploma in Library and Information Studies (2005) from UCD and a Higher Diploma in Applied Computing (2012) from WIT. He has over 10 years’ experience of working in libraries and has been working at Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries since April 2007. Kieran currently fulfils the role of Developmental Librarian at Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries. He is responsible for the development of existing and new library services and resources for WIT’s students, staff and the local community. Kieran supervises the curation and digitisation of special collections housed in WIT, including the Christ Church Cathedral collection, Graves & Sons shipping archive, Red Kettle Archive, Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador studies and the Justice for Magdalene’s archive amongst others. Through partnerships, he has been able to devise and manage numerous library outreach programmes, including a ‘Homework access club’ for secondary school students and educational exhibitions on the Holocaust and American Civil Rights Movement.
Dr. John Curran, a lifelong crime fiction enthusiast, is the award-winning author of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks (2009), Agatha Christie’s Murder in the Making (2011) and Agatha Christie’s Complete Secret Notebooks (2016). And he collaborated with the artist Tom Adams on Tom Adams: The Art of Agatha Christie and Beyond (2015). He is currently working on a history of Collins Crime Club.
One of Ireland’s most respected music writers, Jackie Hayden spent 29 years with Hot Press, where he interviewed artists of the stature of Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones, Christy Moore, Sinead O’Connor, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Drew, Glen Hansard and Bob Geldof. He topped the Irish book charts with two editions of My Boy, his book about Philip Lynott. He has also written Love and Theft? Bob Dylan’s Celtic Odyssey, The Winner In Me (his biography of Don Baker), and the CD/book A Map Of Love – Around Wales With Dylan Thomas. Prior to his writing career, he was marketing manager with Sony Music (then known as CBS), where he signed U2 to their first record contract. He has delivered witty and informative addresses to various seminars around Europe, and in his lecture Dylan, Dylan and Me, talks about discovering Dylan Thomas via Bob Dylan and The Beatles. He has written for many overseas publications, including Sunday Times, R2, The Lampeter University Review, and Ninnau in the USA. In 2015 he was “writer-in-residence” at Tranas Literary Centre in Sweden, and spoke about Dylan Thomas as part of World Poetry Day at the State Theatre in Uppsala.
Geoff Hill is a critically acclaimed bestselling author and award-winning journalist based in Belfast.In a previous life, he was Ireland’s most capped volleyball player and a much younger man. He writes a weekly motorbike column for the Mirror which is a desperate attempt to disguise the fact that he knows bugger all about motorbikes. He’s also the editor of Microlight Flying magazine, in spite of the fact that he knows even less about aeroplanes than he does about motorbikes. He’s the author of 11 books, including three novels and bike adventure books about epic journeys from Delhi to the UK, Chile to Alaska, around Australia and around the world recreating the journey of Carl Stearns Clancy, the first person to take a motorbike around the world 100 years ago – complete with the original boots Clancy wore on that trip. He’s either won or been shortlisted for a UK travel writer of the year award nine times. He’s also a former Irish, European and world travel writer of the year. He lives in Belfast with his wife Cate, a cat called Cat, a hammock and the ghost of a flatulent Great Dane. His hobbies are volleyball, flying, motorbikes, tennis, skiing and worrying about the price of fish.
Cat Hogan is a novelist from Co. Wexford and is particularly proud of her Kilmore roots. Born into a home of bookworms and close to the sea, her father, Pat, a lightship man, instilled in her a love of the sea and the stars. Her mother, Mag, taught her how to read before she could walk. Writing, storytelling, and a wild imagination is part of her DNA. The beautiful County Wexford is home to Cat, her musician partner, two beautiful sons, and her tomcat Jim Hawkins. There they live a life of storytelling, song, and adventure. Her debut novel They All Fall Down (2016), published by Poolbeg Press, is an Irish Times, Amazon UK and Amazon US bestseller and was shortlisted for The Annie McHale Debut Novel of the Year.‘There Was a Crooked Man’– Cat’s second novel will be published in September 2017 (Poolbeg) . She has written for publications nationally and internationally.When she is not conjuring up imaginary friends and mad men, she teaches Creative Writing & Mental Health programs to young teenagers and adults and also runs her own business in content and brand marketing. She facilitates both creative writing and business workshops in Wexford and Dublin. Cat is a professional member of the Irish Writers Centre.
Thomas McCarthy was born at Cappoquin, Co. Waterford in 1954. He was educated at University College Cork and became a Fellow of the International Writing Programme, University of Iowa 1978/79. He was International Professor of English at Macalester College, Minnesota, in 1994/95. He is author of nine collections of poetry, including THE SORROW GARDEN, THE LOST PROVINCE, MERCHANT PRINCE and PANDEMONIUM as well as two novels and a book of essays. He worked for many years at Cork City Libraries, but he now writes fulltime. He is a former Editor of Poetry Ireland Review and The Cork Review as well as Director of Poetry Workshops at The Arvon Foundation(Yorkshire), Molly Keane House(Co. Waterford) and at Listowel Writers’ Week. He has been a member of Aosdana and a Fellow of the RSA, London, for many years. He is a winner of The Patrick Kavanagh Award, The Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, The O’Shaughnessy Prize and the Annual Literary Award of The Ireland Funds.
Editor of The Wexford Echo Group of Newspapers, Tom is a past winner of Amnesty International and two Law Society of Ireland awards for investigative journalism. He received a Mary Raftery Journalism Bursary in 2013 and his subsequent series of articles about Direct Provision in Ireland received a Certificate of Merit from The Law Society in 2014. Author of All The Bishops’ Men (published by The Collins Press in 2012) and two volumes of prose: With This or Upon This (2007) and Dust Motes Dancing in the Sunbeams (2014), Tom also contributed to the anthology, Red Lamp, Black Piano (2013). In June 2017 Tom received the Justice Media Award in the Regional Newspapers category for his article: The Last Word A valuable insight into the role of the Coroner’s Court in the aftermath of deaths by suicide.
Dervla Murphy’s first book, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, was published in 1965. Over twenty travel books have followed including her highly-acclaimed autobiography, Wheels Within Wheels. Dervla has won worldwide praise for her writing and many awards, including the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize. Her most recent book is Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and Palestine. Few of the epithets used to describe her – ‘travel legend’, ‘intrepid’ or ‘the first lady of Irish cycling’ – quite do justice to her extraordinary achievement. Now in her eighties, she continues to travel around the world and remains passionate about politics, conservation, bicycling and beer. Dervla Murphy was born in Lismore, Co. Waterford in 1931 where she still lives when not travelling. Her daughter, Rachel, and three young grand-daughters have joined Dervla on her travels when possible.
Peter Murphy is a writer, journalist, and spoken word performer. He is the author of two novels, John the Revelator (2009) and Shall We Gather at the River (2013), published by Faber & Faber in Ireland and the UK, and by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the US and Canada. His fiction has been translated and published in Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Holland, Germany, Serbia, Romania and the Commonwealth countries, and nominated for the Costa, the Kerry Group Fiction Prize, and the IMPAC. As well as a number of short stories (‘The Dead‘ included in Dubliners 100 (Tramp Press, 2014), ‘The Blacklight Ballroom’ included in New Irish Short Stories edited by Joseph O’Connor (Faber & Faber, 2011), and ‘The Hound From the County Hell‘ (Winter Pages, 2015), he helped develop the radio drama Coma with Kevin McCann, which won the silver prize at the PPI Broadcasting Awards in 2015. Peter’s journalism and non-fiction have appeared in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, the Irish Times, Hot Press and Huffington Post. He has released two albums with the Revelator Orchestra, The Sounds of John the Revelator and The Brotherhood of the Flood. For ten years he was a regular panelist on RTE’s arts review show The View with John Kelly, and was also a presenter on RTE’s The Works.
Photo Credit : Caolán Barron
Joe Neal was born in North Wales half-way up a mountain overlooking the sea. He has been living in Edenvale, County Wexford, for the past 29 years – near a waterfall. He trained as an actor with Colchester Repertory Company before attending the University of Nottingham. He has divided his professional life between acting and journalism – working in London for the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express. As an actor he has appeared on stage in London’s West End and in Dublin at the Abbey and Gate theatres and in provincial theatres in the UK. He has also performed on television and radio in Britain and Ireland. He writes extensively on natural history and the countryside and has published four collections of poetry – Telling it at a Slant (2013), Turn Now the Tide (2014), Hear the Colour (2015) and Still Rise the Sun (2016). All are available on Amazon or from major book stores. His fifth collection – The Next Blue Note was published in June this year. Joe was the winner of the Anthony Cronin prize for poetry at the Wexford Literary Festival 2017.
Margaret O’Brien is a lecturer in the School of Humanities, Waterford Institute of Technology and is passionate about the benefits of creative writing for everyone. She is a co-founder of The Story House Ireland, the first place to offer taught, residential courses in Ireland to anyone who wishes to write. She also runs her own workshops, ‘Writing Changes Lives’, twice yearly in Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir. Margaret is an affiliate of Amherst Writers and Artists and a founder member of Amherst Writers Ireland. All her workshops are based on the AWA philosophy and practice as detailed in AWA founder Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and with Others. Margaret also leads a monthly open mic, Poetry Plus, in Brewery Lane Theatre and curates the annual Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend in Carrick-on-Suir. Her blog is called Writing Changes Lives because she believes it does and it can be found at www.margaretaobrien.com
Fiona O’Rourke is a professional member and mentor at the Irish Writers Centre. She earned the M.Phil. (Hons.) in Creative Writing at Trinity College Dublin. Author of Have You Found Luke? winner at the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair, her short stories have been published in: Fish Anthology, Thirteen, broadcast for the RTE Francis MacManus competition, and translated for Troquel Revista Da Letras. Prize-winning Wrong Whisky is included on a reading syllabus by Saint Mary’s College, California. She was selected for the Arts Council Northern Ireland & Irish Writers Centre XBorders Project 2017 and was awarded a Cill Rialaig Writing Residency in 2016. She has facilitated creative writing courses in Wexford town and at the inaugural Write By the Sea festival, and is currently facilitating and mentoring in Dublin.
Hazel Percival is a Senior Executive Librarian with Wexford County Council Public Library Service. From Ferns, County Wexford, she has worked as a librarian in both Wexford Town and Gorey libraries. Hazel has facilitated book clubs for some 15 years. Her current readers’ group is eReaders, based in Gorey Library, where over the last three years the group of fourteen members has grown and adapted their reading habits by embracing the new opportunities and reading opportunities that technology has now made available. Join us at Reading, Readers and eReaders at Write By The Sea to learn more
Billy Roche’s first novel, Tumbling Down, was published by Wolfhound Press in 1986, followed by The Wexford Trilogy for The Bush Theatre, directed by Robin LeFevre. The Wexford Trilogy (A Handful of Stars – Poor Beast In The Rain – Belfry) was later filmed for the B.B.C. His other plays include Amphibians (R.S.C) The Cavalcaders (The Abbey / Royal Court), On Such As We and Lay Me Down Softly (Abbey/ Wexford Arts Centre). Tales from Rainwater Pond, his acclaimed collection of short stories, was published by Pillar Press. He wrote the screenplay Trojan Eddie (winner of the San Sabastian Film Festival) and co-wrote the IFTA award winning The Eclipse with Conor McPherson (inspired by Billy’s short story Table Manners). He has been Writer-In-Residence at the Bush and Writer –In-Association at Druid and the Abbey Theatre. His recent work includes the novella The Diary Of Maynard Perdu and the RTÉ four-part series Clean Break along with a short monologue for the stage called The Dog and Bone. His latest work is a stage play called Of Mornington (staged by Scalder Theatre Company at the Wexford National Opera House in May/June 2016.) Billy Roche is a member of Aosdana.
Donal Ryan is the author of three number one bestselling novels and a short story collection. He has won three Irish Book Awards, the EU Prize for Literature and the Guardian First Book Award. His debut novel, The Spinning Heart, was shortlisted for the Impac Dublin Literary Award and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was recently voted Irish Book of the Decade. His work has been translated into over a dozen languages and is on the Leaving Certificate prescribed and comparative lists. Donal holds a fellowship in creative writing at the University of Limerick.
Photo Credit: Anthony Woods
Barbara Scully is a freelance columnist and broadcaster. She is regularly published in the Irish Independent and the Irish Examiner. Barbara also contributes to programmes on both RTE and TV3. Along with Declan Buckley she helps to solve problems on the Moncrieff Show on Newstalk every Monday. Barbara lives in Dublin with her husband, two of her three daughters, four cats and an elderly deaf dog.
Lorna Sixsmith is a farmer and writer but includes secondary school teaching, interior design consultancy and social media training amongst her previous careers. She ran a crowdfunding campaign to part-fund the self-publishing of her first book in 2013, raising over €6,000 in the process. She has been interviewed on numerous radio and TV programmes including Ireland AM, TG4’s Roisin, Ryan Tubridy and Sean O’Rourke, and has been a panelist on Prime Time, Vincent Browne and Claire Byrne Live. Lorna’s books have been reviewed or featured in numerous Irish and UK newspapers and magazines. Her second book How To Be A Perfect Farm Wife won Best Nonfiction in the Carousel Aware Book Awards and her third book An Ideal Farm Husband was launched by the Irish Independent at the National Ploughing Championships.
Sarah Webb writes for both children and adults. Her Ask Amy Green series has been shortlisted for the Queen of Teen Awards in the UK and the Irish Book Awards. The third book in her new series for children, The Songbird Cafe Girls: Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin (age 8+), has recently been published and her short story, The Library Cat, features in the Children’s Laureate collection, Once Upon a Place. After working for many years as a children’s bookseller, Sarah now combines writing with visiting schools and libraries, reviewing, reading at festivals, and teaching writing in the Irish Writers’ Centre. She is also the Children’s Curator of the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival and Children’s Literary Advisor to Listowel Writers’ Week. In 2015 she won the Children’s Books Ireland Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books. She is currently the Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown Writer in Residence. www.sarahwebb.ie @sarahwebbishere www.facebook.com/sarahwebbwriter
Originally from Dublin and having studied in UCD, Helen moved to London where she now lives. She has worked as an assistant camerawoman for 15 years on many successful films such as The Hours, Sense and Sensibility, Notting Hill, Tomb Raider, Shanghai Knights and on many TV series including Sharpe and The Royle Family. Helen has written, produced and directed two short films which have gained screenings and awards internationally. Her long association and love for Kilmore Quay inspired her to write Razor Fish starring Brenda Fricker. Razor Fish received a screening at Cannes and many International Awards including an award for Best Original Short Drama and Best UK short film. Helen is currently writing a feature film script. She has attended several courses given by some of the best American screenwriting consultants including Dara Marks and John Truby. These courses have given Helen an indispensable guide to writing screenplays from structure to plot to narrative.