Sheila Llewellyn

Posted by Sue Leonard on Wednesday 21st February 2018

When Sheila was 8, she moved, with her father, to British Ghana. There was no school, so She spent her days reading in the mining camp library, or being tutored by her father, up country. But at 11, living with an uncle and Aunt in Manchester, her childhood became conventional.

Gaining her primary degree, Sheila set off on her travels again.

“I went to Africa; to Iran at the time of the revolution; to Singapore, Russia, and Germany.”

Starting as a therapist, Sheila retrained as a counselling psychologist, then a cognitive behavioural therapist, eventually specialising in PTSD. She worked with sufferers for over ten years, including two years at the Omagh Trauma Centre in Northern Ireland.

She’s always wanted to write, and has done so since 2010. A winner of the PJ O’Connor Award, and a category of the New York International Drama Festival, she’s been twice shortlisted for the Costa Award.

Who is Sheila Llewellyn

Date of birth: 1948, (in Manchester, but of Welsh heritage.)

Education: Goyt Bank High School for Girls, Stockport. Manchester University; Oxford University; Queens University Belfast. “I’ve Collected a BA, BS, BSC and two MA’s on psychology, applied psychology, education and creative writing; and a PhD in creative writing from the Seamus Heaney Centre.

Home: Enniskillen. “My husband came from near here.”

Family: Husband, Ken’ “We’ve been together for nearly 50 years.”

The Day Job: Fulltime writer.

In Another Life: “I’d have been an archivist, hidden away for 40 years.”

Favourite Writers: Hilary Mantel; Pat Barker; Ian McEwan; Sebastian Barry; David Park; Samuel Beckett. “And I love the poetry of Seamus Heaney, Louis MacNeice and Sinead Morrissey.”

Second Novel: “It will be based in Iran during the revolution.”

Top Tip: “Do your research as thoroughly as you need to, then let your imagination and your characters fly.”

The Debut: Walking Wounded. Sceptre: €17.00. Kindle: €12.09. 

It’s England, 1947. David Reece, traumatised by his experience in Burma, arrives at Northfield Military Psychiatric Hospital, and is treated by Daniel Carter. Through their stories, the novel, based on the author’s research, explores the experimental nature of psychiatry in the 1940’s and the conflict between those believing in physical treatment and psychoanalysis.

The Verdict: Powerful, shocking, enlightening, moving, and beautifully written. I loved it. 


Published in The Irish Examiner on 27th January, 2018

© Sue Leonard. 2018.

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