Billy O'Callaghan was born in Cork in 1974, and is the author of three previous short story collections: In Exile (2008) and In Too Deep (2009), both published by the Mercier Press, and The Things We Lose, the Things We Leave Behind (2013) published by New Island Books, the title story of which earned him the 2013 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award for Short Story of the Year.
The recipient of literature bursaries from the Arts Council in 2010 and the Cork County Council in 2015 among several other honours, including the Molly Keane Award and the George A. Birmingham Award, his work has been broadcast on RTE Radio One's Book On One, Sunday Miscellany and the Francis MacManus Awards series. He has also been short-listed on four occasions for the RTE/P.J. O'Connor Award for Radio Drama.
Over the past fifteen years, his short stories have appeared in some ninety literary magazines and journals around the world, including: Absinthe: New European Writing, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, the Bellevue Literary Review, Bliza, Confrontation, the Fiddlehead, the Forge Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Kenyon Review, the Kyoto Journal, London Magazine, the Los Angeles Review, Narrative Magazine, the Southeast Review, Southword, Versal, and Yuan Yang: a Journal of Hong Kong and International Writing. New work is forthcoming in Salamander, the Emerson Review and Valparaiso Fiction Review. He also contributes regular book reviews to the Irish Examiner.
Billy won second place in the 2017 Costa Short Story Awards for his story The Boatman.
Dr John O’Callaghan lectures in St. Angela’s College, Sligo. His research focuses on twentieth-century Ireland and processes of imperialism and nationalism, the education system, political and military history, sports history, and commemoration. His publications include: Teaching Irish Independence: History in Irish Schools, 1922-72 (Newcastle, 2009); Revolutionary Limerick - The Republican Campaign for Independence in Limerick, 1913-21 (Dublin, 2010); The Battle for Kilmallock (Cork, 2011); Subversive Voices: Narratives of the Occluded Irish Diaspora (Oxford, 2012); Plassey’s Gaels: GAA in the University of Limerick (Cork, 2013)
Sean O'Callaghan was borh in Killavullen, Co Cork in 1918. He was commissioned in the Irish Army in 1936. On leaving the army he baceme a journalist in Fleet St, as well as in Nairobi. He published his first book, The Easter Lily, in 1956, and became a full-time writer. He died as To Hell or Barbados went to press, in August 2000.
International star of multiple BAFTA-award-winning TV series Mrs Brown's Boys and Mrs Brown's Boys: d'Movie, Brendan O’Carroll's story begins very modestly.
The youngest of eleven children, Brendan O’Carroll was born in Dublin’s inner-city in 1955. His mother, Maureen, was a Labour TD (MP) and a huge influence on his life. He left school at 12 and worked as a waiter, trying many other occupations in his spare time - disco manager, milkman, pirate radio disc-jockey, painter-decorator etc.
For a time he ran his own bar and cabaret lounge before being persuaded to try the comedy circuit. The gigs were small at first and even included his own version of ‘Blind Date’, but word soon got around about this original and outrageous funnyman: soon there was standing-room only.
The real turning point in Brendan’s career was his first appearance on The Late Late Show, Ireland’s longest-running chat show: the studio audience and viewers loved him. His first video Live at the Tivoli went straight to No 1, knocking U2 out of the top slot and pushing Garth Brooks to No 3. In 1994 he was voted Ireland’s No 1 Variety Entertainer at the National Entertainment Awards.
He went on to make best-selling videos, and a bestselling record, as well as touring in Ireland, the UK and the USA.
The radio show Mrs Browne’s Boys, written by and starring Brendan, had a phenomenal daily audience on 2FM and led to the creation of Agnes Browne as the central character in Brendan’s first novel, The Mammy, published in 1994. The book topped the bestseller charts in Ireland for months and the film rights were snapped up.
The Mammy was followed by The Chisellers and The Granny: all three were huge bestsellers. Holywood came calling when Anjelica Huston read and loved Brendan's books: she made her directorial debut with Agnes Browne.
Brendan toured several other stage shows with Agnes Browne as the central character, before a BBC producer saw the show and felt there was television potential. Initially broadcast in a quiet late evening slot, Mrs Brown's Boys quickly became a huge word-of-mouth hit, and quickly moved to primetime, including several Christmas Day specials. A huge success in Australia and other countries where it has been shown, the enduring appeal of Agnes and her family is secure.
Brendan continues to write and perform as Agnes Browne, most recently in Mrs Brown's Boys: d'Movie (2014)
Brian O’Connell is a former chairman of Shannon Heritage, the State company which operates a network of cultural tourism venues, such as Bunratty Castle, in Counties Limerick and Clare. In that role, and as a member of the Hunt Museums Trust, he had the opportunity to observe the economic and cultural legacy that John Hunt left to the region. He has spent years travelling world-wide researching the life of Hunt and his impact internationally on the art world.
He initiated the publication in 2004 of an oral archive on regional development pioneer, Brendan O’Regan. He is the co-author of ‘In Bello Fortis’, a biography of Tipperary man General Sir William Parker Carrol, published in Spanish by Fundacion Gustavo Bueno, Oviedo, May 2009.
Jennie O’Connell was born in Galway, and has lived in Wexford, London and New York, before coming back to Galway again and enjoying its particular brand of driving rain, brilliant people, and excellent pubs.
She works as an English teacher, and is a freelance illustrator. She particularly enjoys drawing nostalgic, evocative scenes, and a lot of her work has humour and is recognisably Irish.
Jennie lives in Galway with her two daughters, two cats, and three guinea pigs, who rule the house with a rod of iron.