Anna McQuinn was born and grew up in County Kerry. She lived in the small town of Castleisland in the heart of Kerry Dairy country and is old enough to remember the old Fair days there - her maternal grandfather used to be a cattle drover and his small restaurant attracted many old friends from up and down the country. Her dad grew up on a small dairy farm and Anna spent many hours with him visiting the farm to help his brother with milking and making silage.
Anna attended a small two-teacher national school three miles outside of town where her dad was a teacher. All of her friends lived on farms and she loved staying over for weekends, helping with feeding calves, moving cows around and cutting turf.
Anna read English and History in UCC then studied for her H Dip (specialising in Children’s Literature), teaching English for a number of years in Cork while she did so. In the late 1980s, like so many of her friends, she headed to the UK in search of work and was delighted to get a job in Children’s Publishing.
Since then, Anna has worked for over 20 years as an editor and publisher, producing hundreds of children’s books. In 2003, she left her full time publishing job to concentrate more on writing and has since written over 20 books. She now divides her time between developing book ideas, writing stories and working directly with children which really feeds her writing.
James McVeigh is a trade union activist from Belfast. He was born just off the Falls Road, where the story of Stolen Faith begins. Upon leaving school, he started studying to be an engineer, but after the hunger strikes and the death of Bobby Sands, he became involved in the conflict. He served sixteen years in prison before being released as part of the Good Friday Agreement. While in prison, James studied for a history degree, and when released, he went to Queens University and achieved a Masters in Human Rights. He has written two history books, Executed and Goodbye Dearest Heart, and this is his first novel.
As a young child, James stayed in Tuam as part of a church-organised break from the civil conflict in Belfast. When he returned decades later, he stumbled across the Tuam shrine and began to learn the tragic story of the mother and baby home and its secret burial chamber, a septic tank. This book is a tribute to all the women and children who died in or survived these terrible institutions.
Lisa McVeigh studied architecture at Queen’s University, Belfast and worked for Campbell Conroy Hickey Architects in Dublin before setting up DMVF Architects. Lisa specialises in residential projects and has an RIAI accreditation in health and safety and a Grade 3 accreditation in conservation.
Brian Merriman or in Irish Brian Mac Giolla Meidhre (circa 1749 – 27 July 1805) was an Irish language poet and teacher. His single surviving work of substance, the 1000-line long Cúirt An Mheán Oíche (The Midnight Court) is widely regarded as the greatest comic poem in the history of Irish literature.
Born in the Yorkshire Dales, Jan Michael spent an idyllic childhood there and in the Seychelles, also living in Lesotho and Pakistan. Since university, she has worked as an editor and literary agent in London, Amsterdam and Yorkshire. She has written thirteen books which have been published in several languages, including the children’s novels Hill of Darkness, The Rock Boy (also performed as children’s opera in Germany), Just Joshua (winner: Dutch Vlag en Wimpel prize), Leaving Home (winner: Dutch Silver Slate Pencil and the Jenny Smelik-IBBY Prize) and Moorside Boy.
Richard Mills, born in Provence, moved to West Cork at the age of 16. Since then he has combined the career of press photographer with The Irish Examiner and Evening Echo, with that of keen wildlife photographer, garnering many national and international awards and seeing his images published across the world. He has also been the subject of a TV programme by the wildlife film maker, Eamon de Buitlear.
Angus Mitchell was born in Africa and educated in England. From 1987 to 1992 he lived in Spain where he wrote extensively on Spanish culture, food and cinema and published the widely-acclaimed Spain: Interiors, Gardens, Architecture, Landscape (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1992). From 1992-98 he lived in Brazil where he worked as a film and television correspondent and helped to develop the award-winning historical drama, Carlota Joaquina: Princess of Brazil (1995).
Since 1998, he has lived in Ireland. For over two decades, he has studied the life and legacy of Roger Casement and a group of associated radicals, pacifists, feminists, cosmopolitan nationalists, internationalists and other critics of empire. To date, his published research has focussed largely on Roger Casement’s work in Africa and South America.
In 1997, he edited and annotated The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement (Dublin: Lilliput Press & London: Anaconda Editions). In 2003, there appeared a companion volume Sir Roger Casement’s Heart of Darkness: The 1911 Documents (Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission). These editions helped to retrieve Casement into the history of human rights and situated him within a progressive anti-colonial dialogue in pre-First World War Britain. The work also reinvigorated academic interest in Casement and the controversies associated with his life and afterlife.
Much of the early research for this body of work was undertaken while Mitchell was resident in South America, where he travelled widely on the Amazon and revisited the principal locations where Casement stayed when consul general in Brazil.
His work has cast vital new light on Casement’s entanglement with British intelligence and the enduring puzzle over the authenticity of the nefarious Black Diaries, the documents that have largely defined Casement’s myth in the public imagination. Mitchell has long made the argument, along with other reputable historians, that these documents are forgeries.
In 2010, Mitchell initiated and helped to curate, with Professor Laura Izarra at the University of São Paulo, a series of exhibitions on Roger Casement that helped to alert a wider international audience to the importance of Casement as both an intellectual and an activist. The exhibition opened in Manaus on the Amazon in 2010. It then moved to the Centro Maria Antonia in São Paulo, where it was launched by the Irish Ambassador to Brazil. In 2012, it opened in the presence of the Nobel Laureate for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, at the prestigious Casa de América in Madrid. The exhibition is currently being revised for an African tour. It will open in Maputo, Mozambique in 2013.
A Spanish edition of The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement (La Coruña: Ediciones del Viento) appeared in 2011. A Portuguese edition will be published by the University of São Paulo in 2014.
Mitchell is currently looking at other individuals involved in the cultural politics of the early twentieth century. These include the historian Alice Stopford Green, the botanist, Augustine Henry, and the evangelical faith missionary and divine, Henry Grattan Guinness, who established the earliest mission stations on the lower Congo.
From 2004- 2009, Mitchell worked as a university lecturer in both the U.S. and Ireland. He now devotes himself full-time to writing, guest lecturing, parenting and gardening.
Mitchell’s work has appeared in various international, academic and mainstream journals. He sits on the editorial board of History Ireland and is a regular contributor to the on-line Dublin Review of Books. Most recently he annotated two extensive extracts from Casement’s German diaries for Field Day Review 8:2012.
He lives in the mid-west of Ireland.