About me

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Not all those who wander are lost. JRR Tolkien.

Hello.

Thank you for visiting my site.

I’m Shell, from Dublin, but happiest when travelling.

After talking about writing all my life I finally sent out my first piece in 2017 and it was published in The Irish Times.

In October 2017 I set up this website as a way of motivating myself to write but as I sent my writing to newspapers and magazines and they published my work, the site has become a collection of my writings (Home Page), competitions I’ve entered and prizes I’ve won (Writing Awards), the exciting places writing has taken me, and a definable trail from starting at zero to where I am now. (Writing CV)

I write about my life, my travels and experiences, about trying to find magic in the mundane, ordinary in the extraordinary, sanity in the madness, peace in the chaos, and the answer to why I feel the constant need to be on the move, as if routine is some kind of shackle that needs to be shaken off. There have been some dark times over the years and these are my stories of finding silver linings in the darkness, of locating the light, of putting back the sparkle that was lost along the way.

I’ve written short stories, flash fiction, travel, opinion and memoir pieces and they have been published in print in The Irish Times, The Gloss Magazine, The Irish Examiner, Woman’s Way Magazine, The Sunday Independent, The Telegraph, NewsFour, The Dublin People, in four anthologies – Loft Books, Same Page, Teachers Who Write, and the bestselling book, A Page from My Life which was number one in Ireland for two weeks in November 2020. My writing is online on Writing.ie, IrishTimes.com, Silverbirchpress.wordpress.com, KanturkArts.ie, Pendemic.ie, TheCabinetofHeed.com and Athensinsider.com.

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One of the first pieces I wrote was a story for Arnott’s Department store in Dublin to celebrate their 175th birthday.  They recorded it on video and it formed part of an exhibition run by the Little Museum of Dublin and was on display in store during the spring and summer of 2018.

I prefer reading, writing and being outside to spending time on social media but I make an effort with Twitter because that’s where all the writing information is. You’ll find me @thesparklyshell.

Facebook not so much. Instagram and LinkedIn not at all.

2021 has been a big year. I was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant by Dun Laogahire County Council, an Agility Award from the Arts Council of Ireland. I got to spend a week on residency at Tyrone Guthrie. I had my first short story published in an anthology by Loft Books (London), had a creative non-fiction piece about my beloved Skellig Michael accepted for an anthology put together by the Creative Writing MA students in UCC, had an essay about living through the pandemic win a prize, and I finished my book, a memoir that is out on submission. The opening page was longlisted in Retreat West’s ‘Best Opening Page’ competition in 2020 and an extract was longlisted in TLC Pen Factor UK writing competition 2021. Extracts from it have won The Iceland Writer’s Retreat 2020 and a Date with An Agent 2019 and most recently the opening page was published online by the Irish Times. Literary festivals restarted in 2021 and I attended The Shaking Bog in Wicklow in person in September.

I have a picture book written for my favourite four people in the world – my nieces and nephews and I’m working on a second.

I’m a teacher by profession but a writer at heart.