Orla McAlinden MVB MSc HDipEd has nearly as many letters after her name as are in her name, and none of them have anything to do with writing!
I was looking for a challenge and, unable to afford a proper mid-life crisis, I took to writing and haven’t looked back. I’m a Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the Eludia Award for debut fiction, the Cecil Day-Lewis Emerging Writer 2016 and the winner of the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards Short Story of the Year, 2016. Read the winning story: The Visit
The Accidental Wife is the inaugural title for the Libraries Northern Ireland public reading initiative The Armagh Big Read, taking place in March 2017.
My as yet unpublished novel, The Flight of the Wren, which was a winner in the Inkwell/writing.ie “Date with an Agent” contest 2015, was then selected for presentation at the Greenbean Novel Fair in the Irish Writers’ Centre in Spring 2016, being one of 12 novels selected from a submission of 275 works.
Ireland, 1849. Twelve year old orphan Sally Mahon entrusts her future to a worldly prostitute and is transported to a penal colony in van Diemen’s Land. Inspired by true life events, the stories of 200 real Irish women weave through this fictionalised account of life on board the ship Australasia.
My first story was accepted for publication within weeks of writing and was published as “The Jarvey and the GIs” in The Chatahoochee Review’s Special Irish Literature Issue in January 2013.
After this early success came a slew of rejection, leavened by some happy acceptances including:
“Drumming our way to the future” Highly commended in The Fish Short Memoir Contest 2013
“Control zone” Second Prize in the Valhalla Press Short Prose Contest 2013
“Winning the grass” First Prize in Skypen’s short prose contest 2013
“The big, fat Chernadrine” second prize in Skypen’s short memoir contest 2013
“Control zone” (a fictionalised version) was longlisted in the RTE/Penguin Ireland prize in August 2014
I was delighted to join the teams at the inaugural Babble Literary Festival in Cavan in June and August 2013, and the second Shore Festival in Sligo to facilitate workshops on an introduction to life writing.