Maura McHugh is a writer living in Galway, Ireland.
Although Maura was born in the USA, she was transplanted early to the West of Ireland when she was too young to protest. She haunted the local library (it was next door), and developed an early passion for speculative fiction. A late night encounter with a black and white horror film (Tod Browning’s The Devil-Doll) as a child gave her a lasting love of horror cinema. Ellen Ripley was her first movie heroine.
She studied for a B.A. in English and History, followed by a M.A. in English at NUI Galway, and during this period worked her summer vacations in New York City.
After spending a year working in New York Maura returned to academia at Trinity College, Dublin. She became involved in both student politics (TCD’s Graduate Students’ Union) and the Irish science fiction scene (as a member of Octocon’s committee for four years). Both interests were strangely well-suited.
From 1992-1996 Maura wrote articles, stories, and conducted interviews for the Irish Science Fiction Association’s monthly newsletter. She was also a member of the ISFA’s monthly writers workshop. As Information Officer in the Graduate Students’ Union Maura edited the academic journal, Alumnus for two years, and her short story, “Mirror, Mirror”, was published in the GSU literary magazine, College Green. She was a contributer to the BFI Companion to Horror (London: Cassell, 1996), edited by Kim Newman.
During this time Maura’s part-time job in an IT company was expanded into a full-time position as a Lotus Notes administrator, and a proper paycheck tempted her from penury. She worked in a number of different companies as Lotus Notes Administrator, System Administrator and IT Manager. A demanding job squeezed out time for writing, although she was the technology host for Online.ie from 2000-2002, and wrote articles about the IT industry.
In 2001, Maura left her job and became a freelance website designer with the secondary objective to dedicate more time to writing.
In 2002 Maura took a short course at Filmbase in Dublin on screenwriting, and discovered it was the perfect fusion of her love of writing with her passion for cinema.
That year she moved back to the West of Ireland. In September she began a part-time Diploma in Film Studies, and graduated in June 2004 with first class honours.
To better understand the filmmaking process she completed an eight-week Foundation Course in Filmmaking at the Galway Film Centre in 2003. At the end of the two months the class created a short film called Loop da Loop. She was credited as director.
In September 2004 Maura began a M.A. in Screenwriting at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. She graduated in November 2005 with first class honours. From August 2005 – March 2006 Maura took Hal Croasmun’s ProSeries Screenwriting Class.
For six weeks in the summer of 2006 Maura attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop, in Seattle, USA. Each year Clarion West selects 18 writers from a competitive international field to prepare them for professional writing careers in science fiction and fantasy. She was the recipient of the Gordon R. Dickson Scholarship for 2006.
Since 2007 Maura’s short stories and poetry have appeared in a number of publications in the USA and the UK.
Her short script, ‘Hotel Training’, was selected to be part of the Hotel Darklight anthology film in September 2009. It was directed by Conor McMahon, and premiered as part of the Darklight Film Festival in October 2009.
In Spring 2010 Maura teamed up with author Christopher Fowler to launch a horror flash fiction competition called the Campaign for Real Fear in response to her blog posts about a couple of disappointing events in the horror industry. She and Chris announced the top twenty winners in late April 2010. The stories were published in Black Static and during the summer of 2010.
She is the writer on two comic book series, Róisín Dubh and Jennifer Wilde, both published by Atomic Diner in Ireland. Jennifer Wilde was nominated for an Eagle Award for Favourite European Comic Book in 2012.
Maura’s first collection, Twisted Fairy Tales, was published by Barron’s in the USA in February 2013. It’s a large-format hardback book, lavishly illustrated by the artist Jane Laurie. The sequel-of-sorts, Twisted Myths, featuring more beautiful art by Jane Laurie, was published in October 2013.
Since 2009 she has served on a number of literary and film juries, including the Shirley Jackson Award jury in 2011/12.
Maura’s interests include art, photography, cinema, history, comic books, mythology and technology. If you wish you can contact Maura, check out her writing credits, the courses she’s taken or find out her current news.