I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1969, the same year The Troubles started. As far as I know, the two events are unrelated.
At 17, after a UK-wide search with more than 600 applicants, I was chosen to be the first-ever trainee for The Sun, the highest-selling, English-language daily newspaper in the world. They waited for me to finish school, then moved me to the British mainland. My journalism career took me all over England: Newcastle; Manchester; Birmingham; Bristol and London.
Then, in a surprising left-field lurch, I returned to Ulster and bought a travel agency. I spent 12 years traveling the world, visiting more than 100 countries, the 50 US States, and all seven continents. I also worked on two world tours with everyone's favorite Hellraiser, Ozzy Osbourne.
In 2004, even more remarkably, I moved to New Orleans.
I spent a year writing a novel, a light-hearted romp about a bachelor party in the Big Easy - and finished it weeks before Hurricane Katrina slammed the city. Great timing. It was terrible anyway and is best forgotten.
Instead, while evacuated for three months, I started Finn McCool’s Football Club, a memoir about my experiences before, during, and after the storm. I won a Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival grant in 2006 while it was a work in progress, and it was released in 2009 on both sides of the Atlantic. No-one was more surprised than me by the glowing reviews, some of which you can read here.
In 2018, my second book World Cup Fever about the international soccer tournament was published.
Following the release of Finn McCool’s Football Club, I was asked to teach a fiction-writing class for the Walker Percy Center at Loyola University. More than a decade later, I organize and teach my own courses. And continue to write.
I have written for Chelsea Football Club, the National World War II Museum, and newspapers, magazines and websites, both domestically and internationally.
Now in my fifties, I spent the pandemic lockdown working on another book. More details to come soon I hope.
In the meantime, they nearly made a full-length documentary about Finn McCool's Football Club. Check out the trailer here.