President of Sinn Féin and TD for Louth, Gerry Adams has been a published writer since 1982. His books have won critical acclaim in many quarters and have been widely translated. His writings range from local history and reminiscence to politics and short stories, and they include the fullest and most authoritative exposition of modern Irish republicanism.
Born in West Belfast in 1948 into a family with close ties to both the trade union and republican movements, Gerry Adams is the eldest of ten children. His mother was an articulate and gentle woman, his father a republican activist who had been jailed at the age of sixteen, and he was partly reared by his grandmother, who nurtured in him a love of reading.
His childhood, despite its material poverty, he has described in glowing and humorous terms, recollecting golden hours spent playing on the slopes of the mountain behind his home and celebrating the intimate sense of community in the tightly packed streets of working-class West Belfast. But even before leaving school to work as a barman, he had become aware of the inequities and inequalities of life in the north of Ireland. Soon he was engaged in direct action on the issues of housing, unemployment and civil rights.
For many years his voice was banned from radio and television by both the British and Irish governments, while commentators and politicians condemned him and all he stood for. But through those years his books made an important contribution to an understanding of the true circumstances of life and politics in the north of Ireland.
James F. Clarity of the New York Times described him in the Irish Independent as "A good writer of fiction whose stories are not IRA agitprop but serious art."
Sheila Bugler grew up in the west of Ireland. After studying Psychology at University College Galway, she left Ireland and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Argentina before finally settling in London, where she lives with her husband Sean, and their children, Luke and Ruby.
In 2008, she was one of four writers to be offered a place on the Arts Council-funded Apprenticeships in Fiction programme – a mentoring scheme designed to nurture emerging writers in the UK and Ireland. When not writing, Sheila works as an online editor and writer and is also a regular contributor to the writing magazine Words With Jam.
Emma Byrne is a graphic designer and artist. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design. She has won numerous awards for her design including The IDI (Irish Design Institute) Graduate Designer of the Year, the IDI Promotional Literature Award for her work on Brown Morning, and a Children’s Books Ireland Bisto Merit Award for her work on Something Beginning With P: New Poems from Irish Poets. She has illustrated many books, including Best-Loved Oscar Wilde, Best Loved Yeats, The Most Beautiful Letter in the World by Karl O’Neill, a special edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, and A Terrible Beauty by Mairéad Ashe Fitzgerald. She lives in a thatched house in Co. Wexford.
In 1974 he was taken into custody over alleged propaganda, and he was active in the democratization of his native country as President of the Slovenian PEN Centre between 1987 and 1991.
In 1993 he received the highest Slovenian literary award for his lifetime achievement, and in 1994 he won the European Short Story Award. He lives in Ljubljana.
John Brendan Keane, who died in his native Listowel in 2002, remains one of Ireland’s most popular writers. He was the author of many awardwinning books and plays, including Big Maggie, Sive, The Year of the Hiker, Sharon's Grave and his masterpiece, The Field.
In 2003, Susan Lanigan graduated from a Masters in Creative Writing in NUI Galway. Since then, she has had short stories published in The Stinging Fly, Southword, The Sunday Tribune, the Irish Independent, Nature, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Mayo News. She has been thrice shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and longlisted and shortlisted for the Fish Short Story Contest, the Bristol Prize, the Raymond Carver Short Story Award and other competitions.
Martine Madden was born in Limerick, worked in Dublin and later moved to the United Arab Emirates with her husband John. The stories recounted to her by the Armenian diaspora there prompted her interest in Armenian history and formed the basis of the novel Anyush. Martine returned to Ireland in 1990 and now lives in the Midlands with her husband and five children.