Mohammed Saif Khan is a Syrian refugee who lives in Leitrim. He lived in Raqqa with his wife and five children where he was a nurse and also had his own band. His eldest son, Fadi, a lawyer, was killed by ISIS in September 2014. Mohammad left Syria with his family in February 2016 and was relocated to Ireland with his wife and daughter on the refugee resettlement programme while his other three sons were relocated to Frankfurt, Germany. He is currently studying English in order to work again in the nursing profession.
Mohammed describes music as a universal language understood by all the peoples of the world which now provides a bridge between the Kurdish community in Ireland and the local community. He has taken part in several festivals throughout Ireland and was part of the traditional arts performance project, Open Room, with Danny Diamond, Vincent Woods and Edwina Guckian, which was commissioned by the Iron Mountain Festival in 2018.
Sean Nós dancer Edwina Guckian was born near Drumsna in Co. Leitrim where she learned to dance from her mother and the local dancers of Leitrim and Roscommon. Since starting to teach dancing at the age of 16, Edwina has taught and toured with shows and bands in every continent all over the world including Altan, De Danann, Dervish, Mairtín O Connor, Frankie Gavin, Kíla, Martin Hayes, Séamus Begley, We Banjo 3 and Beoga among others. In 2004 Edwina founded the dance club “Sean Nós ar an tSionann” which now has over 700 members, 11 teachers and is based in 9 counties. Edwina worked as choreographer on director Ken Loach’s film, Jimmy’s Hall, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
In July 2015 she launched her first Dance tutorial DVD “Second Nature” which has sold more than 2500 copies worldwide. In 2016, she received an award from Leitrim County Council for her contribution to the arts and in 2015 was awarded Leitrim Business Person of the Year by the Irish Enterprise Board. She has collaborated with Zogma Dance Company from Quebec for the show “Sokalo” commissioned by The Dock Arts Centre for its 10th anniversary which toured Ireland and Quebec. In 2015/2016 she was part of The Leitrim Equation production with artists Eleanor Shanley, Vincent Woods, Padraig McGovern, Donal Lunney, Dave Sheridan and John McCartin. Since 2016, she has been artistic director of Leitrim Dance Week, a week-long international professional development programme for percussive dancers alongside a weekend festival of dance for general audiences. In 2018 she was recently awarded the Art’s Councils Next Generation Award.
Jamie Goldrick is a freelance media producer based in Dublin, Ireland who has shot music videos for Lisa O’Neill, Shakalak and John Francis among others. He directed and edited the award-winning shot documentary The Reek about Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holiest mountain. It won the documentary award at the Kerry Film Festival in 2018. Jamie holds a B.A in Digital Media & Anthropology and an M.A in Anthropology, with research focusing on the increasing digitization of today’s society. He was contributing editor of rabble magazine and has contributed articles to international and domestic publications.
Luke Gibbons form Keadue, Co.Roscommon, has taught as Professor of Irish Studies at Maynooth University, Ireland, and at the University of Notre Dame, U.S.A. His recent books include Joyce’s Ghosts: Ireland, Modernism and Memory (University of Chicago Press, 2015), and Charles O’Conor: His Life and Works, co-edited with Kieran O’Conor (Four Courts Press, 2015). He contributed the chapter ‘Roscommon in Literature’ to Roscommon: History and Society, ed. Richie Farrel, Kieran O’Conor and Matthew Potter (Geography Publications, 2018), and the catalogue essays, ‘Ungovernable Eyes: The Photographs of Helen Hooker O’Malley’ to A Modern Eye: Helen Hooker O’Malley’s Ireland (Gallery of Photography/National Library Ireland, 2019), and ‘An Attack of Unreality: Brian O’Doherty, Art, and Roscommon,’ Coming Home, ed. Linda Shevlin (Roscommon Arts Centre, 2019).
Adrian Dunbar is an actor and director, best known for his television and theatre work. He was born and brought up in Enniskillen, the eldest of seven siblings and was educated by the Christian Brothers before attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. His stage career is prolific and diverse, demonstrating a remarkable range. He has acted in the classics as well as the contemporary British and Irish repertoire. In recent years he has performed in Joyce's 'Exiles'‚ at the National Theatre and in the farce 'Boeing Boeing'‚ in the West End. He made his stage directing debut with a critically acclaimed production of Brian Friel's 'Philadelphia, Here I Come'.
On the big screen, he is probably best known for his roles in leading films such as 'My Left Foot', 'The Crying Game', 'The General‚ 'Richard the Third'‚ and 'Hear My Song', which he co-wrote and for which he received a BAFTA nomination. Among his many television appearances he has played Superintendent Ted Hastings in the BBC One thriller Line of Duty since 2012. He has also had roles in the first episode of 'Cracker'‚ and the last two episodes of 'A Touch of Frost', as well as in numerous other well-known programmes including 'Inspector Morse'‚ 'Murder in Mind‚ 'Murphy's Law', and 'Ashes to Ashes'. He also starred in the TV drama 'Mo'‚ in the role of First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble.
Ian Maleney is a writer based in Dublin. Born and raised in Co. Offaly, he works as a freelance arts journalist, primarily for the Irish Times, and as the online editor at the Stinging Fly. His essays have been published by Winter Papers, gorse, and the Dublin Review. He is the founder of Fallow Media, an interdisciplinary publication for music, photography, and long-form writing on the internet. Minor Monuments is his debut.
Una Mannion is a writer based in Sligo. She is the programme chair of the BA in Writing & Literature at IT Sligo. In 2017 she won the Hennessy Emerging Poetry Award, Doolin short story competition, Cuirt fiction award and Allingham fiction prize. Previously she has won Ambit short story prize ,Yeats Society Seamus Heaney award and came second in the Dermot Healy poetry prize. Her work has been published in The Irish Times, The Lonely Crowd, Ambit, Crannog and Bare Fiction. Her debut novel will be published by Faber in 2021.
Alice Lyons lives in Sligo where she lectures on the BA (Hons) Writing + Literature course at Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture, IT Sligo. Her novel Oona will be published in April 2020 by Lilliput Press. Lyons was Radcliffe Fellow in Poetry and New Media at Harvard University and is a recipient of the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary. She has published three collections of poetry most recently The Breadbasket of Europe (Veer Books, London 2016). Throughout her career, she has created work that brings literature into new contexts, media and communities. Her poetry film ‘The Polish Language’, co-directed with Orla Mc Hardy, was nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA).
Michael Harding is one of Ireland's most distinctive writers and storytellers. Born in Cavan in 1953, he now lives near Arigna in County Leitrim. He has written numerous plays for the Abbey Theatre, including Una Pooka, Misogynist and Sour Grapes, and has published three novels, Priest, The Trouble with Sarah Gullion and Bird in the Snow as well as three bestselling memoirs, Staring at Lakes, which won three BGE Irish Book awards, Hanging with the Elephant and Talking to Strangers and the bestselling On Tuesdays I’m a Buddhist. He won the Steward Parker Award for Theatre and the Bank of Ireland RTÉ award for Excellence in the Arts in 1990. He was Writer in Association with the Abbey Theatre in 1993 and Writer in Residence at Trinity College Dublin in 1999. He won Best Actor at Dublin Theatre Fringe Festival in 2004 for his performance in Gare St Lazare's production of Swallow and his play, The Tinker's Curse, was nominated for Best New Play at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards in 2007. He is a member of Aosdána.
Vincent Woods’s plays include At the Black Pig’s Dyke (Druid Theatre Company, 1992); Song of the Yellow Bittern (Druid Theatre Company, 1994); and A Cry from Heaven (Abbey Theatre, 2005); and for radio, The Leitrim Hotel, The Gospels of Aughamore and Broken Moon. Poetry collections are The Colour of Language and Lives and Miracles. He has co-edited The Turning Wave: Poems and Songs of Irish Australia, and Fermata: Writings Inspired by Music (with Eva Bourke); and in 2016 published Leaves of Hungry Grass: Poetry and Ireland’s Great Hunger (Quinnipiac University Press). Awards include the Stewart Parker Award for Drama and The Ted McNulty Award for Poetry. For many years he has been a regular presenter of arts programmes and documentaries on RTÉ Radio 1. Vincent was part of the Leitrim Equation performance, and the music and spoken word performances Open Room (2018) and Portal at Boyle Arts Festival in July 2019. ‘Borderlines’ (with Henry Glassie) was published in 2018. He is a member of Aosdána.
Rhona Trench is Programme Chair of the Masters in Creative Practice and the BA in Performing Arts in IT Sligo. She lectures in Drama Studies, Directing for Theatre, Critical Literature and Performance, and Playwriting. Rhona holds a PhD in Contemporary Irish Theatre from Queen’s University Belfast and more recently an MA in Creative Writing in 2017. She has published two monographs, an edited collection of essays, and has published widely in the field of Irish theatre. She is an emerging playwright and short story writer.
Born in Dublin, Néillidh Mulligan is one of Ireland’s most distinguished uilleann pipers. He is the fourth generation to carry on this tradition and was first taught by his father Tom Mulligan, the renowned fiddle-player and piper. He is a founding member, patron and former chairman of Na Píobairí Uilleann – The Society of Uilleann Pipers. His second solo album, The Leitrim Thrush, which includes a track of the unique fiddle-playing of his father Tom, was voted the Best Traditional Album and the Best Solo Album of 1997 by the readers of Irish Music Magazine.
Mary McPartlan is one of the most talented singers to come out of the Irish scene in recent years. Born in Drumkeeran, Co. Leitrim and now living in Galway, she started singing in the early 70s but it wasn't until 2003 that she decided to make music her full time career. She has been working for the last 12 years as producer and director of many music and theatre projects. She developed the concept of the TG4 National Traditional Music Awards, and was co-producer of the award-winning music series FLOSC, also for TG4. As a singer however, Mary, didn't come out of the shadows until January 2004 when she released the critically-acclaimed album The Holland Handkerchief. Her most recent album from Mountain to Mountain was released earlier this year.
Marian Keyes is the international bestselling author of Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel's Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, The Brightest Star in the Sky, The Mystery of Mercy Close, The Woman Who Stole My Life and The Break. With themes including alcoholism, depression, addiction, cancer, bereavement, and domestic violence her 12 novels had sold over 35 million copies obefore The Break (2017) and translated into 33 languages. Her journalism, collected under two titles, Making It Up As I Go Along and Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition, containing the original publications Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet, are published by Penguin. Marian currently lives in Dún Laoghaire with her husband Tony Baines, after returning to Ireland from London in 1997.