top of page

IRON MOUNTAIN 2024

BIOGRAPHIES

Ken Boyle
Tim Desmond
Adrian Duncan
Garadice
Kathleen Hill
Claire Keegan
Brian Leyden
Ruth McCabe
Zak Moradi
S Aiken - with book-sq.jpeg

Síobhra Aiken

Síobhra Aiken is a lecturer in Roinn na Gaeilge agus an Léinn Cheiltigh (Department of Irish and Celtic Studies) at Queen’s University Belfast. A former Fulbright Scholar and a member of Young Academy Ireland (Royal Irish Academy), she has published widely on the social and cultural history of twentieth-century Ireland. Her monograph Spiritual Wounds: Trauma, Testimony and the Irish Civil War was published by Irish Academic Press in 2022. Spiritual Wounds featured in the Times Literary Supplement’s books of 2022 and was awarded the Michael J. Durkan Prize for Books in Language and Culture 2022 by the American Conference of Irish Studies. Spiritual Wounds was also awarded the prestigious 2023 Royal Historical Society Whitfield Book Prize for best first book in British or Irish history. Síobhra is currently completing a second monograph which examines the efforts of early twentieth-century immigrants in the Springfield, Massachusetts to sustain an Irish-speaking enclave in their adopted home.

Suad-Aldarra-sq.jpg

Suad Aldarra

Suad Aldarra is a Syrian storyteller, data scientist, and software engineer based in Dublin, Ireland. She holds a Master’s in Data Analytics from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). Her thesis RefugeesAre.info, which tackles the spreading issue of misinformation about refugees and migrants in the news, won Techfugees Global Challenges Awards 2018, was shortlisted by the European DatSci & AI Awards 2019 and won the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards 2020. Techcrunch listed her work as one of the 25 most innovative new projects using technology to help refugees and NGOs. Suad started the Women Techmakers Group in Galway, a Google program to empower women in technology, and she currently volunteers with Techfugees to empower displaced people with technology. Suad has published Arabic stories in Syrian and Lebanese newspapers. Her memoir, I Don't Want To Talk About Home, is published by Doubleday Ireland.

 

Zoe-Basha-sq.jpg

Zoé Basha

Zoé Basha is a Leitrim-based musician, composer and carpenter, of French-American origins. Drawing from her background as a traditional singer influenced and inspired by the multiple cultures embedded in her sound, Zoé Basha blends traditional Appalachian, Occitan and Irish singing with Piedmont blues and jazz. After growing up between the U.S. and France, then studying as a vocalist at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she focused primarily on blues and jazz, Zoé moved to Ireland and fell into traditional singing in Dublin. In a milieu blending political dissent, feminism, queer theory and traditional music, she made her home. Since then, she has been working on both music and carpentry between Ireland and France. In 2023, Zoé was selected by Music Network and Glór Arts Centre as the RESONATE musician-in-residence, to continue development of new works blending airs and style of Irish traditional song, rhythm and harmonies of Occitan polyphonic singing, and the sway and singing technique of Appalachian ballads, with blues and jazz music.

 

mary-byrne-sq.jpg

Mary Byrne 

Mary Byrne is an Irish writer living in Montpellier. She has published numerous short stories set in Ireland, Morocco and France. Plugging the Causal Breach (Regal House, 2019) is her debut collection set in France.

She has taught in Ireland, Germany, Morocco and France. She has also directed a health education foundation in Ireland where she was also managing editor of a scientific journal. She holds an MA from UCD, specialising in the work of Lawrence Durrell, with whom she worked on his final book, Caesar’s Vast Ghost (Faber & Faber, 1990). More recently she has translated from French to English and edited critical research books. She now concentrates on writing. 

Ken-Boyle-sq.jpg

Ken Boyle

Ken Boyle is from Dublin, and his father's family was from the Ballinamore area of Leitrim. Ken worked in the financial sector in both Ireland and England. Since his retirement he has had the time to pursue a lifelong interest in recent Irish history. Ken is a regular contributor of articles to the Leitrim Guardian magazine, his grandfather was Dr Muldoon's cousin.

tim-desmond-sq.jpg

Tim Desmond

Tim Desmond grew up in Cork city. He studied social science and journalism at UCC, before being taken on by RTÉ Radio after graduating. He has made a number of award-winning documentaries, which have taken him across Asia, Africa and Central America, with a particular focus on issues of social justice and the legacy of war. He now works full-time with the Documentary On One team at RTÉ Radio, producing his own documentaries and supervising the productions of independent documentary-makers.

Adrian-Duncan-sq.jpg

Adrian Duncan

Adrian Duncan is an Irish artist and writer.  His debut novel Love Notes from a German Building Site won the 2019 John McGahern Book Prize, while his second novel A Sabbatical in Leipzig was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020. His collection of short stories Midfield Dynamo was published in March 2021, and his third novel, The Geometer Lobachevsky, was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2023. His films have screened at IFFR, Karlovy Vary IFF, HotDocs and IDFA among others. Duncan's first book of non-fiction LITTLE REPUBLICS: The Story of Bungalow Bliss was published in late 2022 alongside a solo exhibition in the Irish Architectural Archive curated by Askeaton Contemporary Arts. He is a contributing editor to PVA Books.

garadice-sq.jpg

Garadice 

Garadice was born out of the Leitrim Equation Programme. a Leitrim County Council residency initiative focused on celebrating. promoting and developing traditional arts and artists in Leitrim. Named after a scenic area in South Leitrim and consisting of four artists with strong Leitrim roots. the band was described as an 'embryonic supergroup' by Alex Monaghan (Folkworld) following the release of their self- titled debut album in 2018. Their second Album 'Sanctuary' is due to be released in June 2023. Group members include: Eleanor Shanley lead vocalist, Dave Sheridan on flute, John McCartin on guitar and Padraig McGovern on pipes.

edwina-guckianSqs.jpg

Edwina Guckian

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.

kathleen-hill-sq.jpg

Kathleen Hill

Kathleen Hill has lived most of her adult life in New York City. In her twenties she taught in a secondary school close to Lagos, Nigeria. A decade later, after returning to Africa, this time to Niger, she began writing fiction. She currently teaches in the M.F.A. program at Sarah Lawrence College. Her first novel, Still Waters in Niger, is set in the Sahel in a time of famine. It was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune, and was nominated for the Dublin IMPAC Award. In a French translation, it was short-listed for the Prix Femina Étranger. Her second novel, Who Occupies this House, explores ancestral memory as it plays out over four generations of Irish-Americans, beginning with famine immigrants who arrived in New York City in the late 1840’s. It was selected as an Editors’ Choice by the New York Times. Hill’s memoir, She Read to us in the Late Afternoons: A Life in Novels, was described by Colm Toibin as a “many-faceted gem of a book.” It received the Nautilus Award for 2017. Her essay on Maeve Brennan was published in March of 2018 in the anthology, Nine Irish Lives, edited by Mark Bailey.

claire-keegan-sq.jpg

Claire Keegan

Claire Keegan’s stories have won numerous awards and have been translated into forty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories to be published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrnes Award, then the world’s richest prize for a story. Small Things Like These won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, The Kerry Prize for Novel of the Year, the Ambassadors’ Prize in France and was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Booker Prize. Both Foster and Small Things Like These were international bestsellers. Faber has now published a stand alone story, So Late in the Day, a version of which was first published in The New Yorker. 

brian-leyden-sq2.jpg

Brian Leyden

Brian Leyden was born in Arigna and lives in Sligo. Awards include the Norman Mailer Writers Colony Scholarship (USA), Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, (BAI) Sound and Vision Award (2014) and an Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon Literary Bursary 2022. Recent work includes a new one-act play Remember Me which premiered in the Hawk’s Well Theatre, (2023). An essay for Winter Papers 8, ed. Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith, (2023). The Decade of Commemorations video: The Sheemore Ambush, dir. Edwina Guckian (2022), and the Famine Attic audio instillation for the Workhouse, Carrick-on-Shannon. He co-wrote the feature film Black Ice  (2013), which received an IFTA best actress nomination for its lead. Current publications are Sweet Old World: New & Selected Stories, a memoir The Home Place, and the novel Summer of ’63. Bernard MacLaverty has described his work as “Life remembered with precision and love.” His new novel is Love These Days.

ruth-mccabe-sq.jpg

Ruth McCabe

Ruth McCabe is a familiar face in Irish films including memorable roles in My Left Foot directed by Jim Sheridan and The Snapper directed by Stephen Frears. Television credits include HostagesThe Shadow of a Gunman and Silent Witness. She won an Irish Film and Television Academy Award in 2003 for her role in Any Time Now, and again in 2011 for Single-Handed. In theatre, she has worked extensively in Dublin's The Gate, Abbey and Peacock Theaters in such productions as The Lower Depths, Translations, Our Country's Good, and Silverlands. McCabe also appeared in Karel Reiszl's The Gigli Concert at The Almeida Theatre.

zac-moradi-sq.jpg

Zak Moradi 

The road to Croke Park can be a long one, but for Leitrim hurler Zak Moradi it was longer than most. Born in a refugee camp in Ramadi, Iraq, at the height of the Gulf War, Zak spent his formative years living under the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein. Settling in Carrick-on-Shannon aged just 11, Zak couldn’t speak English, but when he discovered a talent for hurling, life suddenly took off. Zak credits the GAA with giving him the opportunity to put down roots, forge lifelong friendships and build his own life. Life Begins in Leitrim - From Kurdistan to Croke Park, which Zac wrote with Niall Kelly Is a brave, touching and uplifting memoir, where Zak reflects on his first 20 years in Ireland: the culture shock of landing in small-town Ireland; the plight of refugees worldwide; the skills he learned through sport and the role it plays in a healthy, balanced mind and in creating a community.

Ultan o Brien org.jpg

Ultan O’Brien

Ultan O’Brien is a Leitrim based fiddle player, violist and composer hailing from County Clare drawing from a rich background in traditional Irish music and improvised music. In 2020 Ultan was named of the Contemporary Music Centre’s Emerging Composers. Ultan records, performs and tours traditional and contemporary Irish music as a soloist & with a number of groups/bands including: Irish/Finnish folk group, Slow Moving Clouds, Irish folk band Skipper’s Alley, Scottish/Irish/Manx collaboration Aon Teanga: Un Çhengey and duos with Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Nic Gareiss. Most recently, Ultan and Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin released an album, Solas an Lae, on the Scottish label Watercolour Music which was awarded Best Folk Album at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards 2021. Ultan plays a Michiel de Hoog violin thanks to the support of the Music Capital Scheme and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Music Network and The Arts council.

vincent-woods-sq.jpg

Vincent Woods

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.

gary-younge-sq.jpg

Gary Younge

Gary Younge is an award-winning author, broadcaster and academic based in London. Formerly a columnist at The Guardian he has been appointed Professor of sociology at Manchester University. He is also the Alfred Knobler Fellow for Type Media in America. He has written five books: Another Day in the Death of America, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books in 2018;  A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives; The Speech, The Story Behind Martin Luther King’s Dream; Who Are We?, And Should it Matter in the 21st century; Stranger in a Strange Land, Travels in the Disunited States and No Place Like Home, A Black Briton’s Journey Through the Deep South. In 2021 he was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism for bringing ‘the eloquence of an expert journalist and the depth of an academic’ to his reporting on the role of racism and inequality in the pandemic. He has made several radio and television documentaries on subjects ranging from gay marriage to Brexit.

Mary Byrne
Vincent Woods
Gary Younge
Edwina Guckan
Zoe Basha
Ultan O'Brien
back-to-top-icon-png-orange.png
bottom of page