‘Favourite saying? Early bird gets the worm, but second mouse gets the cheese’ – author Una Mannion

The bestselling American author, whose second novel Tell Me What I Am has just been published, wishes she had believed earlier on in her life that she could actually write

Author Una Mannion. ‘I wish I could notch down the hype [of the Leaving Cert]. Results seem to mean so little within just a few years.’ Photo: James Connolly

“Sligo is the biggest love of my life,” says the American novelist Una Mannion. Born in Philadelphia to Irish parents, she regularly visited the county as a child and moved there in 1992. After various jobs including waitressing and working for then Labour TD Declan Bree, she did a postgraduate degree in early modern literature at UCC.

While teaching in IT Sligo (now ATU Sligo), Mannion gained the self-belief she needed to pursue her own creative ambitions. She did an MA in Writing at NUIG, then set up her own writing group back home as well as a literary journal called The Cormorant with Louise Kennedy and Eoin McNamee. She picked up several prizes along the way, including a Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and a Cúirt International Short Fiction Award.