A short biography
Maura McHugh was born in the USA but raised in the West of Ireland. She graduated NUIG with a B.A. in English and History, followed by a M.A. in Irish Gothic. After living and working in New York and Dublin, she returned to Galway and combined her love of cinema and writing by studying for a Diploma in Film Studies followed by a M.A. in Screenwriting.
Shortly afterwards she was accepted into the prestigious Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, USA – a seven-week residential intensive, aimed at fostering professional writing careers in science fiction and fantasy. She was the recipient of Clarion West’s Gordon R. Dickson Scholarship that year.
Since then her short fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in publications in America and Europe. She’s published two collections – Twisted Fairy Tales and Twisted Myths – in the USA, and her first collection of original stories, The Boughs Withered When I Told Them My Dreams, was published by British publisher NewCon Press in August 2019. It was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection in 2020.
She’s written several comic book series for companies like Dark Horse and Atomic Diner Comics, and most recently Judge Anderson for 2000 AD. She’s also writing for Belfast Games company, Outsider Games, including adapting the comic book series she wrote, Jennifer Wilde, to a video game.
Maura also works as a screenwriter, playwright, a critic, and has served on the juries of international literary, comic book, and film awards.
In 2017 she wrote a monograph on David Lynch’s iconic film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which was published by Electric Dreamhouse Press/PS Publishing, and was nominated for a 2018 British Fantasy Award for Best Non Fiction.
Her short story ‘Bone Mother’ was adapted into a short stop-motion animated film by Sylvie Trouvé and Dale Hayward of the See Creature animation company, produced by the National Film Board of Canada’s Animation Studio, and premiered at Festival Stop Motion in Montreal in September 2018.
In 2018 she was awarded a place on the Comics & Illustrators Residency in Angoulême, France, organised by Wom@rts, a European cooperation and non-profit project. During her residency she had to wholly create and draw a large two-page comic book narrative suitable for exhibition. Her resulting story, ‘Interview with a Sphinx’, has been part of the Wom@rts roaming European exhibition since then, with the last stop in the tour being Limerick in 2021.
In 2019 her science fiction radio play The Love of Small Appliances was broadcast on NearFM, and in January 2020 her novella set in the 2000 AD universe – called Psyche – was published by Abaddon Books in the UK.
She appears regularly on RTÉ Radio 1’s arts/culture show Arena (pre-COVID-19 she usually beamed in from their Galway studio) discussing pop culture. In August 2019 she interviewed George RR Martin in the GPO in Dublin when he received the An Post Special Recognition Award for his contribution to science fiction and fantasy, which was part of the An Post Book Awards.
Maura has also been involved in running events, including co-chairing Octocon, the Irish National Science Fiction Convention, co-running Ladydeez do Comics in Dublin, co-curating ‘The Image’ stream of programming for the Hay Festival, Kells, and running the Fringe programme at Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon. In this capacity she’s had many years of appearing on panels, moderating discussions and interviewing authors.
Her great inspiration comes from walking and taking photographs in Irish woodlands: the darker, the wilder, the better.
Please credit the photographs as © Maura McHugh 2021