About Anne O’Leary


I worked as an editor, sub-editor and writer for many years on magazines and newspapers in London, the Netherlands and my native Cork, Ireland. It’s a strange industry that both observes the world and shapes it. There was also a pocket of time where I trained as a director in a London off-West End theatre. That was as fantastic as it was bonkers.

Writing fiction is something I’ve done since I was a kid – the earliest story I kept for posterity was about a sad labrador (please form an orderly queue, publishing houses). But I’ve only started writing in a focused way in the past few years, thanks to a fantastic writing group.

I have won the Molly Keane Award 2018 and From the Well Short Story Competition 2017, was runner-up in the Bournemouth Writing Prize 2021 and the UCC/Carried in Waves Short Story Competition in 2015, shortlisted for the ChipLitFest Short Story Competition 2023, the Colm Toíbín International Short Story Award 2016 and Highly Commended for it in 2017, and longlisted for the Cambridge Short Story Prize 2020 and the RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition 2015.

My work has been published in Ellipsis, Lunate, The Ogham Stone, Spelk, National Flash Fiction Day flash flood, The Wellington Street Review, Fictive Dream, The Drabble,  Jellyfish ReviewDodging the RainThe Nottingham Review, Spontaneity and The Incubator.

My flash fiction has been selected for the BIFFY 50 (Best British & Ireland Flash Fiction 2018-2019 list and 2019-2020) and nominated for Best Microfictions 2020 (here and here).

Anthologies include Everyday Kindness (edited by LJ Ross, in aid of Shelter UK, and also available on audiobook, narrated by a host of well-known actors), Smoke in the Rain and Other Stories (From the Well finalists anthology), No Good Deed (Retreat West), The Waves of Change (Bournemouth Writing Prize anthology) and Cork Words 2 (Cork City Libraries).

I have a novel or two in the works, an early version of one blagging its way on to the runners-up list for the Greenbean/Irish Novel Fair 2016, held by the Irish Writers Centre. That very same novel was selected again as a Novel Fair 2021 runner-up, was shortlisted for the Flash 500 Novel Opening Competition 2022 and longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award 2022, and is now looking to go to a good home (though publishing houses should note there is a distinct lack of sad labradors). I’m currently working on another book, much of which was outlined during a Curtis Brown Creative novel course. My participation was made possible by an Agility Award from the Arts Council of Ireland, for which I’m very grateful.

In 2017, I was awarded a Frank O’Connor Mentorship Bursary by the Munster Literature Centre. I was mentored by the American writer Marie-Helene Bertino, who was in Cork as the recipient of the Frank O’Connor Fellowship. It was an amazing experience to have thoughtful guidance through an early novel project. I also participated in the University of Limerick’s Creative Writing Winter School in Doolin, Co Clare, two years in a row. That was a pretty transformative experience, and I would recommend it highly to anyone looking to complete a novel. You can read my enthusiastic daily ramblings about the experience here.

This blog is a sharing of the information I stumble across as part of a steep learning curve, the occasional book review when something makes an impression and the odd cheeky plug for any little personal victories. Apologies in advance for those.

Thanks for reading,


PS. A reading here:

And guest co-hosting Cork literary salon Fiction at the Friary here:

Photo: Roger Overall


2 thoughts on “About Anne O’Leary

  1. As it happens, pretty pictures and nonsense are two of my favourite things, so I’ll have to drop by for a look! Thanks for reading, Wildsherkin, much appreciated


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