Our Committee

The executive committee is elected to run the affairs of the Union for twelve months.

Any member who is fully paid up may be elected to the committee at the Annual General Meeting each March. If you are a member and would like to serve on the committee then send us an email expressing interest.

Helen Dwyer, Chairperson

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Helen’s first collection of poems, Still-Faire, in English and Irish was published in 2010. Her second collection of poems, Beyond, was launched in the Irish Writers Centre, Dublin, in 2011. Helen’s third collection of poems, No Surrender in Irish, English and Romanian, was launched in Timisoara, Romania in 2014. Helen has read her work at festivals throughout Europe and in India. Most recently she read at the Europe in Verse Poetry Festival at Como, Italy in April 2017. Her next collection of poetry,  The Thief of Promises, will be published in Como next year. Helen has just completed a novel, Secrets, a coming-of-age story set in Dublin, Paris, Italy and New England. Her fourth collection of poems, Leaning Against the Sky, is at the final draft stage. She is now working on her next novel, Last Letters.

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Lissa Oliver, Secretary and Editor of Final Draft

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Lissa Oliver, originally from London, has lived in Kildare for 30 years. She began working on a stud farm from school and has worked in the racing industry ever since, happily combining it with her passion for writing. First published at the age of seven, in The Brownie magazine, she is now an award-winning racing journalist and author, the first of her four novels being the historical Nero – The Last Caesar followed by a trilogy of racing thrillers, Chantilly Dawns, Gala Day and the recently published Sainte Bastien (www.maverickhouse.com). Lissa also facilitates creative writing classes throughout Kildare and Carlow, as well as for the Irish Wheelchair Association, and is a long-time executive of the Irish Writers Union, as well as a Director of the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency.
www.lissaoliver.ie

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Roy Hunt, Treasurer

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Roy Hunt grew up in Sligo before moving to Roscommon. He spent most of his life working in partnership with his father in crane hire and haulage. Injured in a factory accident in 1993, he took the opportunity to gain a BA and an MLitt (history), by distant education from NUIG through DCU’s Oscail. (His English-History teacher once said of him ‘Roy is well read in everything, except his Leaving Certificate’). While working in a west-of-Ireland textile plant he got the idea for his first novel, Transmutation, about a laboratory monster that escapes into an Irish midlands lake. Transmutation is presently available on Amazon-Kindle and will later be published in paperback by Twilight Books.
For his next book, he is researching the struggle between religion and science in the era of the manipulation of the human genome, coupled with eugenics and the growing processing power of computers. Fr Winter: a threatening genesis, is due out in mid-2018. He is also working on a non-fiction book on his parent’s life, called A cruel scenario. He is the present treasurer of the Irish Writers Union. Find out more on his website and Amazon author page.

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Conor Kostick, Disputes Officer

KostickConor Kostick is an author of both fiction and non-fiction and he has won awards for his writing in both categories. As Disputes Officer for the Irish Writers Union, Conor has garnered a great deal of experience, particularly in regard to publishing contracts.

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Brendan Canning, Executive Committee Member

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Brendan is a new committee member, just learning the ropes from seasoned committee members.

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Glenda Cimino, Executive Committee Member

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Glenda is a member of the executive committee.

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John Fairbrother, Executive Committee Member

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For his entire life, John suffered periods of irrational thinking and suicidal thoughts. After a complete breakdown, he thought the world would be a better place without him and that even God didn’t want him.
Fortunately some people put him in touch with a psychotherapist who diagnosed him as suffering from bipolar disorder. Soon afterwards she directed him toward fiction writing for therapy. The complete change of lifestyle worked wonders, but his attempt at writing showed up another problem, dyslexia.
By far the worst effect of dyslexia for John was that all his life he had been trying to hide the fact that he couldn’t read or write. However, his psychotherapist insisted that he keep at his writing and be up front about his learning difficulty. When he finally started to tell others about his dyslexia, he found talking about his problem was a wonderful release from a kind of self imposed prison. In fact, he discovered that denial had been a big part of his problem.
As John says, “My main reason for writing this memoir is to highlight the way in which my changed lifestyle, and learning to read and write properly, led me to live a full and happy life. Through reading I also discovered God did want me and actually loved me despite the effects of mental illness, dyslexia, and the handicap of a less than ideal childhood.”
He has no desire to profit personally from this book. However,  his wish is that it will be successful enough to produce some funds to help others like himself.

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James Harpur, Executive Committee Member

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James is a member of the executive committee.

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Phil Mac Giolla Bháin, Executive Committee Member

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Phil Mac Giolla Bháin is an author, award-winning blogger, journalist and playwright based in Donegal. His first play Flight of the Earls premiered in the Balor Theatre, Donegal in 2005 and the work was then taken on a tour of the West of Ireland venues in 2007. In the last three years, his work as a dramatist has been an important part of the St Patrick’s festival in Glasgow.
Last year his play Hame, which was based on a Glasgow Donegal family living through the tumult of the Scottish Independence referendum, brought critical acclaim. His most recent work Rebellion was performed in March this year the St Patrick’s festival in Glasgow.
Phil is also a working journalist and is the author of several non-fiction books. He is an active member of the National Union of Journalists. In November 2016 he was voted the ‘Best International Football Blog’ at the Football Blogging Awards.
His next work is The Squad. It will be published in 2017 by Frontline Noir.
www.philmacgiollabhain.ie

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Donough McNamara, Executive Committee Member

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Donough is a member of the executive committee.

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Laurence O’ Bryan, Executive Committee Member

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Laurence’s roots go back to a small estate deep in the Mountains of Mourne, near the Silent Valley, in County Down, Northern Ireland. He was first published by a school newspaper when he was ten, for a short story about aliens getting lost.  The Istanbul Puzzle was his first novel to be published (Jan, 2012,) The Jerusalem Puzzle his second (Jan, 2013,) and The Manhattan Puzzle his third (Aug, 2014.). The Nuremberg Puzzle (April, 2016) is the fourth novel in the series.
In 2007 he won the Outstanding Novel Submitted award at the Southern California writer’s conference. The Istanbul Puzzle was also shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of 2012. It has now been translated into 10 languages.
Laurence is on the committee of the Irish Writers Union, and hosts a ‘live’ crime writers’ group in Dublin each month. He also promotes and supports other writers through his site BooksGoSocial.com.
His research has taken him all over the world, from San Francisco to deep in the Arab world. I still enjoy looking at the stars, and listening to the stories of strangers.
What keeps you going?
I know it’s a cliche, but I dreamt of becoming a writer when I was a child telling adventure stories to friends on my street. Two of those friends committed suicide before they reached the age of 21. Ireland was a place of repression, secrets and shame back then. It still is. I dedicate my writing to their memory.
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Kate Walsh, Executive Committee Member

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Kate was born in County Laois, Ireland, where she grew up. She is a long-standing committee member and has also served as Secretary and Chairperson of the Irish Writers Union.
Kate writes fiction for children and young teens and began writing at the age of thirteen. Her first two novels in the June Average series were published in 2007 in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South East Asia.
Find out more on her website.

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John Waring, Executive Committee Member

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John taught languages, and drawing and design. Has a masters in social and political matters and wrote on them.
At present is writing a work involving Hiberno-English. Says he is up to his oxters.
Enjoys being a family man, gardening, travelling, and meeting up with friends.

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Gabriel Woods, Executive Committee Member

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Gabriel Woods is the author of paranormal, science fiction, adventure and Irish epic saga books. He has achieved a Psychology Degree and a Masters in Aid Work Management from University College Dublin
Gabriel has travelled widely throughout the world to places of cultural significance including India, most of Europe and Australia. Gabriel Woods’ experiences during his travels has influenced his writing and he adds authentic descriptions of regions he has visited in his books. Gabriel has worked as a volunteer for Aware, a helpline in Ireland that supports people experiencing depression and anxiety. He is a fully qualified life coach.
Currently Gabriel Woods writes for the Irish Writers Union newsletter Final Draft. 

www.booksbygabrielwoods.com