About the Speakers

Deirdre Sullivan is an Irish children's writer and poet. Born in Galway, she went to college and became a teacher. She now lives in Dublin. Sullivan took a course with Siobhán Parkinson, who taught creative writing at Colaiste Mhuire, Marino, Dublin. Her lecturer commissioned her to write her first book. Several of her books have been shortlisted for awards. Tangleweed and Brine, written with illustrator Karen Vaughan won the 28th CBI Book of the Year Awards. Sullivan's first play Wake debuted in Galway in February 2019. In 2021, her story, "Little Lives" won 'Short Story of the Year' at the Irish Book Awards.

Sam Thompson grew up in the south of England and now lives in Belfast. His first book Communion Town was longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. His second book Jott was shortlisted for the 2019 Encore Prize. His third book Wolfstongue won a 2022 Spark School Book Award and was chosen as an Outstanding International Book 2023 by the US Board on Books for Young People. Another children’s novel, The Fox’s Tower, was longlisted for a 2022 British Science Fiction Association Award. His short story collection Whirlwind Romance (Unsung Stories) is longlisted for the 2023 Edge Hill Prize. His short fiction has appeared in Best British Short Stories 2019 (Salt Publishing) and on BBC Radio 4, and in anthologies from Blackstaff Press, Unsung Stories and No Alibis Press, among other places. He teaches creative writing at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Patricia Forde was former Director of the Galway Arts Festival and an Irish children's author. She was raised in Market Street, Galway, a fluent Irish speaker. She became a member of An Taibhdhearc at age ten, both acting and directing its plays over the following ten years. She spent ten years as a primary school teacher and was one of the early members of Macnas. Macnas co-founder, Pádraic Breathnach, encouraged her work on stories for Macnas's street performances. While working with Macnas she took a year's leave from teaching to write her first book, Tír faoi Thoinn. However, an opportunity to become Director of the Galway Arts Festival (proposed by Ollie Jennings in 1990) meant that she never returned to teaching. She left in 1995, subsequently working in Ros na Rún, Aifric and RTÉ soap Fair City. Forde's other work has included a creative programme for children at the festival, which developed into the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children.

Sponsored by the MacPháidín Library, the Irish Cultural Centre, Little Island's US Author Tour and Culture Ireland