Recipients of the 2021 Mentoring Programme for Fingal Writers in partnership with Words Ireland

Fingal County Council Arts Office partnered with Word’s Ireland to provide professional development opportunities to support Fingal writers through the Word’s Ireland National Mentoring Programme. Four Fingal writers, Niamh Donnelly, Mark Kielty, Shauna Smullen and Lisa Walsh have been selected by Words Ireland to receive professional literary mentoring over the next eight months from an acclaimed Irish writer of their choice. Following a national call out, over 40 writers were selected from a total of 339 applicants. Fingal County Council Arts Office funded the literary mentorship along with the Arts Council of Ireland. This mentoring opportunity will ensure that the chosen mentees will receive potentially life-changing support. It is also an investment in the long-term literary reputation of the region.

Writers Biographies

Niamh Donnelly is a writer from Dublin. Her fiction has been published in The Irish Times, The Ogham Stone, The Dublin Review, and elsewhere. She is also an arts journalist and was shortlisted for Critic of the Year at the 2019 Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards. She is currently working on a novel, provisionally titled Onboarding. Her writing focuses on themes such as ambition, disillusion and cultural change.

Mark Kielty is a Dublin based author who has been published in four anthologies with his writing group, Cupán Fae. In 2021, he published his first short comic in Turning Roads: Irish Folklore Stories with Limit Break Comics. He writes mostly fantasy along with sci-fi, and superhero stories. When he’s not writing, he’s playing hurling or volunteering as a basketball coach with the Special Olympics. He’s currently working on his first full length novel. In the meantime, getting distracted by sci-fi and fantasy books, Netflix, and Marvel movies, is not entirely unwelcome.

Lisa Walsh is an emerging working class writer from Ballymun, now living in Santry. She began writing as a participant on the Write On course facilitated by Colm Keegan, in the Axis, Ballymun in 2013 at the age of 43. Most recently, she has completed the Stinging Fly’s six-month fiction workshop 2020, as run, in association with the Irish Writers Centre. Lisa is a playwright and is in the process of developing and furthering her skills as a novel and short story writer, creating new writing based on both her experiences growing up in Ballymun and as a professionally qualified social worker. Lisa continues to develop her practice as a writer both for stage and prose. Curating and presenting new work has been a passion of hers since she discovered she has a talent to write and to tell stories from her background. Stories that are too often under-represented.

About Words Ireland

The National Mentoring Programme is run by Words Ireland. It is a grouping of seven national literature resource organisations aimed at supporting writers and developing new audiences for literature. These seven organisations that make up the collective include: Literature Ireland, Children’s Books Ireland, Irish Writers Centre, The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland, Munster Literature Centre, and Publishing Ireland. Its programme is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, but the board work on a voluntary basis. It is chaired by Michael McLoughlin, Chair of Penguin Random House, Ireland.