Maura McHugh is a writer living in Galway, Ireland.
Although born in the USA, she was transplanted early to the West of Ireland and began haunting the local library (it was next door). She quickly developed an early passion for speculative fiction, and 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.
After graduating with a B.A. in English and History, followed by a M.A. in English at University of Galway (UoG), she lived in New York, then Dublin, where like many arts graduates she began a career in I.T.
A short course on screenwriting ignited her passion for film and storytelling, so when she moved back to the West of Ireland Maura began a study of cinema, starting with a Diploma in Film Studies at UoG, and culminating in a M.A. in Screenwriting at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media.
After that she applied for the respected 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 Clarion West Maura’s short stories and poetry have appeared in a number of publications in the USA and the UK.
She began writing comics with 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, and for the British Fantasy Award for Best Comic Book/Graphic Novel in 2014. Her short script, ‘The Nail’, was selected to appear in the Womanthology comic book anthology, with art by Star St. Germain, edited by Suzannah Rowntree, and published by IDW Publishing in March 2012.
She’s since co-written a comic book mini-series with Kim Newman which is part of the Hellboy universe created by Mike Mignola, and published by Dark Horse Comics. It’s a five-issue Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder story called The Mysteries of Unland, with art by Tyler Crook, coloured by Dave Stewart, covers by Julian Totino Tedesco, and lettered by Clem Robins.
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.
In May 2014 her short story ‘Bone Mother’ was optioned by the National Film Board of Canada’s Animation Studio with the view to make a short stop-motion animated film. It was subsequently adapted and directed by Sylvie Trouvé and Dale Hayward, and produced for the NFB by Jelena Popovic. It premièred in 2018.
She wrote a critique of David Lynch’s iconic film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me for the Midnight Movies Monograph series, published by Electric Dreamhouse Press/PS Publishing in 2017. It was nominated for a BFS Award in the Best Non-Fiction category in 2018.
In 2019 her first collection of original short fiction, The Boughs Withered (When I Told Them My Dreams), was published by NewCon Press, and her science fiction radio play, The Love of Small Appliances, was broadcast on NearFM.
Maura is also writing comics and novellas set in the 2000 AD universe for Rebellion Publishing.
She’s been involved in running and curating events for many years, including Laydeez do Comics in Dublin, the Comic Book programming at London Worldcon in 2014, the Image programme at the Hay Festival, Kells, and the Fringe programming at Dublin Worldcon in 2019. In this capacity she’s a regular panellist and moderator at conventions and festivals, and has interviewed a number of high-profile people, including award-winning games designer Rhianna Pratchett, comic book legend Posy Simmonds, and besting selling author George RR Martin. She regularly appears on RTÉ Radio 1’s culture radio show, Arena, discussing pop culture and reviewing books/events.
In 2022 Jennifer Wilde: Unlikely Revolutionaries was adapted to a point-and-click mystery video game published by Outsider Games in Belfast, and is available to play on Steam.
She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and the Writers Guild of Ireland.
Since 2009 she has served on a number of literary and film juries, including the Shirley Jackson Award jury in 2012 and the Méliès d’Argent Award at the Trieste Science+Fiction Festival in 2022.
Maura’s interests include art, photography, cinema, history, comic books, mythology, and technology.
If you wish to contact Maura please fill out the contact form on this site, or join herubstack newsletter, Splinister, if you want regular updates and thoughts about navigating this splintered world.
Selection of Interviews
- Megan Leigh at Breaking the Glass Slipper asked me Five Questions about writing for 2000 AD and discussing Irish Gothic.
- An interview on The Thin Air by Loreana Rushe, discussing comics, influences, and in particular Maura’s Judge Anderson story for 2000 AD.
- Mignola Welcomes New Writers to Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland, Comic Book Resources
- 7 Questions with Maura McHugh David Ferguson, Irish Comic News
- ‘The Brave New World of Comic Book Heroines The Irish Times, Monday, June 27, 2011
- Róisín Dubh, Demons, and Bicycles: an interview with author Maura McHugh (Part 1)
- Róisín Dubh, Demons, and Bicycles: an interview with author Maura McHugh (Part 2)
- Quick Questions with Maura McHugh Irish Comic News
- Interview with Maura McHugh by Emmet O’Cuana
- Quicksilver Questions: Maura McHugh with Chris O’Halloran