Sheena Wilkinson

Sheena Wilkinson, Ennis Book Club Festival

Since the publication of the internationally multi-award-winning Taking Flight (Dublin, Little Island) in 2010, Sheena Wilkinson has established herself as one of the most acclaimed Irish writers for young people.

Only two years after the publication of her first novel, Sheena was granted a Major Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, its highest award, given to artists of national and international importance. 

Her seventh novel, Star By Star, shortlisted for the BGE Irish Books Awards, winner of the CBI Honour Award for Fiction and one of only five books designated by Booktrust as a ‘Future Classic’ in their 2017 School Library Pack, is published to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act (‘Pitch-perfect’: The Irish Times; ‘A brilliant and bold novel’: Fallen Star Stories).

Most of Sheena’s books have won awards. Taking Flight won two CBI awards (The Honour Award for Fiction and the Children’s Choice Award); a White Raven Award from the International Youth Library; an IBBY Honour Listing, and it was shortlisted for the Reading Association of Ireland Awards 2011. The follow-up Grounded also won two CBI awards, including the overall Book of the Year, and like its predecessor the Children’s Choice award. Grounded was also shortlisted for the Reading Association of Ireland Awards 2013. Her middle grade novel, Too Many Ponies, was also shortlisted for the CBI Awards. Taking Flight and Grounded are published in Canada, and have attracted excellent reviews in American publications.

Her 2015 YA novel, Still Falling, was described (Inis Magazine) as ‘an instant classic’, and has recently sold to Turkey, Slovenia and Latvia. Her first historical novel, Name Upon Name, which sets the 1916 Easter Rising against the wider context of the First World War was Waterford’s One Community, One Book choice in 2016. 

Street Song (Black and White Publishing, April 2017), shortlisted for the Wirral Book Award, is a gritty exposé of exploitation, celebrity and destitution, and a love-song to music and friendship. 

Sheena has also won many awards for short stories, and has contributed stories to The Great War, Stories Inspired by Objects from the First World War (Walker, 2014) and most recently to Female Lines (New Island, 2017).

Sheena travels extensively meeting readers. She was the inaugural Bringing to Book Writer in Residence at the Church of Ireland College of Education in Dublin, and is a Royal Literary Fund Advisory Fellow. She tutors regularly for Arvon and teaches creative writing on the M Phil in Children’s Literature at Trinity College Dublin. She delivers talks and workshops in schools, libraries, prisons, young offenders’ centres, festivals and community settings.


‘One of our foremost writers for young people.’ The Irish Times, March 2015