Eamonn Sweeney was born in 1968 in Gurteen, a village of a couple of hundred people in the south of Sligo. "I went to
London when I was 18, mainly because everybody else was going", but like many other teenagers,
Eamonn didn't know what he wanted to do. He was attracted by the idea of being a writer because
he was always "scribbling away" writing a detective thriller when he was 12. He studied
journalism in Rathmines and got a job in a local paper before going to London.
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Working for local newspapers in Roscommon, Longford, and Essex preceded his break from journalism
into full-time writing five years ago. His stories have been published in The Sunday Tribune,
Raconteur and Flaming Arrows. In 1994, he won the Raconteur Short Story Competition and a
runner up slot in the Listowel Short Story Prize. He was short-listed for the Hennessy award,
also in 1994. Sweeney also had what must be the shortest career in
national newspaper journalism. Having completed an interview for The Sunday Press, he was
offered a job by the paper in May 1995. The editor wanted him to make a two-year commitment to
the job. The day before he was supposed to join, the paper closed, never to reopen!
With impeccable timing, Sweeney had just found out he was joint winner of the European Story Award for
a short story he had written and one of the judges, Ruth Rendell, recommended him to her agent.
The result was a publishing deal that enabled him to write full-time. "I remember returning in
penurious circumstances to my bedsit in Dublin's North Circular Road. You know the phones in the
hall with a scrap of paper stuck to them? Here was a scrap of paper saying 'your agent rang'."
Eamonn was a staff journalist with the Dublin magazine "Hot Press" when his first novel was
published. His novels now include "Waiting for the Healer", (Picador,1997), "There's only one Red
Army" (New Island Books, 1998) and "The Photograph" (Picador, 2000). He has also written many reviews,
and stage and radio plays.
Sport has always loomed large in the Sweeney household. Legend has it young Eamonn attended his
first Sligo Rovers game accompanied by his mother who have birth to him three days later, such
was the magnetic power drawing the fleet and the infirm towards Sligo showgrounds. "When I came
back from England, I would go to the games with my two brothers, my sister would go to the
games, my mother goes with my father, who actually lives in Dublin, and it was kind of like
a connective tissue of the family," he says. Eamonn's memories of growing up in that milieu
was faithfully recorded in his book "There's Only One Red Army" written in 1998, the world view
of a not-very-successful soccer team in the west of Ireland and their supporters. Some are saying
it is among the funniest books on the sport ever written.
Eamonn has also won the Cootehill Literary Award. He lives today in Ireland.
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