I came to writing via the scenic, roundabout route. After studying science I travelled in Europe, the US and Africa; taught English in Sudan; and worked with refugees on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border. I then trained as a nurse. Over the following twenty years I nursed in the UK and Ireland; wrote a book for the World Health Organisation; and worked as a health adviser with IRC and GOAL in South Sudan, Kenya, Angola, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. I acquired an MA in Development Studies along the way, in the wonderful Kimmage Manor.
Although I had my first poems published in 1998, my writing life was sporadic until I injured my neck in 2005. My old life came to an end, and I began to build a life around writing, art, and writing workshops. In 2007 I trained as an AWA Writing Group Leader; in 2009 I was Featured Poet in the Stinging Fly. In the same year I received a Literature Bursary from the Arts Council to work on my first collection, “Slow Mysteries“.
Over the years I have studied and workshopped with many fine writers and writing tutors, including Paula Meehan, Brian Leyden, Moya Cannon, Cathal O’Searcaigh, Dermot Healy, Kevin Higgins, Greg Delanty, Ted Deppe, Annie Deppe, Joe Kearney, Orfhlaith Ni Chonaill, Pat Schneider and Jay Ramsay. In 2013 I received a Mentoring Award from the Arts and Disability Forum which allowed me to work intensively with Greagoir O Duill, developing a collection inspired by the experience of nursing my mother when she was dying of cancer. This collection, A Dying Language, was published in May 2016 by the Irish Hospice Foundation.