Alison Healy

Posted by Sue Leonard on Sunday 17th June 2018

As a child Alison wanted to be Enid Blighton.

“I practised her signature. It’s always been at the back of my mind to write a children’s book.” 

Alison grew up on a small farm in County Sligo. Following a placement during college, she worked at the Farmer’s Journal for eight years.

“I loved it. You travel the country and there are so many interesting stories out there.”  

In 2,000 she joined The Irish Times. She is still on the staff, but is completing a three year career break.

“My husband travels a lot, and with the four children it all got too much. I’m due back in July.”

She wrote her debut, then Penguin approached her, asking her to ghost the memoir of the ploughing supremo, Anna May McHugh.

She has since written her second book for children, and is busy writing her third.

“After journalism, it’s such fun to conjur up this little world where anything is possible.”

Who is Alison Healy

Date of birth: February 1971.

Education: Coloiste Mhuire, Ballymote. University College Galway: Arts Degree, then a Diploma in Journalism.

Home: Leixlip, County Kildare.

Family: Husband John Loughlin. Nevin 16, Sean 13, Cian 12, Aisling, 7

The Day Job: Food and Farming Correspondent with the Irish Times.

In Another Life: “I’d love to play the piano and sing in a way that makes grown men cry.”

Favourite Writers: William Trevor; Pat McCabe. “The Butcher’s Boy made a huge impression on me.” Raymond Carver; Mary Lavin.

Second Novel: “I’ve written a second, standalone book.”

Top Tip: “Just do it. I wrote every day after I dropped the children at school.”

Twitter: @AlisonHBooks

The Debut: How Billy Brown Saved the Queen. Little Island: €9.00.   Kindle: €5.60. 

At 9, Billy Brown is in despair. He wants a medal, but the only thing he’s good at is maths. When he helps the middle-aged queen undertand a knotty problem, she comes to stay, and both her life, and his are transformed. 

            “When we were small my mother had really good china. She never took it out. I asked her why, and she said she was saving it for when the queen came to tea.”

The Verdict: An original, deliciously funny story for 8 to 12 year olds. 


Published in The Irish Examiner on May 5th

© Sue Leonard. 2018.

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