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Mary O'Donnell was born in Monaghan, educated at St. Louis Convent Monaghan and later at St. Patrick's College Maynooth. She has been a teacher of English, German and Drama; she worked with the development agency Concern; she has been a translator and worked in journalism as The Sunday Tribune's Drama Critic for three years, following on which she freelanced for a further three years. She presented and scripted three series of poetry programmes for the national broadcaster RTE Radio. Today, she teaches creative writing with various groups and for four summers worked on the faculty of the University of Iowa's summer writing program at Trinity College Dublin. In December 2001 she was elected to the membership of Aosdana, the multidisciplinary organisation of Irish artists which is administered by the Irish Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaine). Aosdana honours artists engaged in literature, music and the visual arts who have made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland. She is a member of the Irish Writers' Union and has served for three years as an external representative for arts and culture on the Governing Authority of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Mary O'Donnell now lives near Straffan, County Kildare.
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