Eileen Keane is a Roscommon born writer and artist now living in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Previously a teacher of Art and English, she began to write in 2003. In that year she began to job share in order to have more time for printmaking and instead found herself writing a novel. She had previously started a novel at the age of seven but was overcome by writers block after the first page and though she always dreamed of writing stories she never knew how to begin the business of being a writer.
When she put the first words on the page in 2003 ideas came streaming out and she has been writing ever since. She enjoys reading her work at open mics and festivals and in 2008 began to write short humorous pieces for music and writing sessions in her local pub.
Her first short story won the Cecil Day Lewis short fiction prize in 2004 and since then she has been long and shortlisted in many other competitions. She was shortlisted for a Hennessy award in 2014 for her short story ‘A Perfect Prayer’, and she was thrilled to win first prize in the inaugural James Plunkett short story award in October 2013 for her story ‘The Peace of Evening ’.
In June 2013 she was selected by Kildare County Council Arts office for The Cecil Day Lewis Emerging writer award. She has previously won the humorous essay prize in Listowel, has been selected for the ‘Lonely Voice’ readings in the Irish Writers centre, and her story ‘Woman Walking on Nassau Street’ has been professionally recorded as part of ‘Stories for the Ear’ Volume 1.
Her work has also been published in a Poolbeg press anthology ‘Do the Write thing’, Listowel Writer’s week Winners anthology, Census 1, 2, and 3, Crannóg Literary magazine and the Irish Independent. She has written two novels, one in her Literary voice and one in her humorous voice. She is also completing a short story collection and she hopes to find a publisher for all of these very soon.
Click here for a list of publications, competitions and awards.
Eileen was mainly involved in painting in oils and acrylics and mixed media work up to 1997, and exhibited in many local exhibitions. In 97-98 she attended a course in the National College of Art and Design and was introduced to printmaking by Taffina Flood of the Graphic studio. She liked the technical aspect of it and the unexpectedness of the results and became a founder member of the Leinster Printmaking studio in 1998.
In the beginning she worked mostly with carborundum and collograph as these techniques suited the textural quality of her work but went on to practice safe etching techniques with copper sulphate and to use photo polymer etching as this is very suitable for transferring text onto plates. Recently she has begun to experiment with screenprinting. Traditional printmaking involves making a plate for each colour layer of the print, and inking the plate which is then rolled through an etching press to transfer the image to paper. Thus multiple images can be made- from small to larger editions- I usually do editions of a maximum of 30 prints.
Eileen took part in a collaborative print project between the Leinster printmaking studio and The Regional print centre Wrexham from 2008 to 2011 and participated in residencies in Cill Rialig in Kerry and in Nant Gwrtheyrn, in Wales. She started working with her welsh ‘twin’ Linda on the idea of home and memory. They began with sources such as the Irish bog and the slate mines in Wales and exploring mapping as a way of describing the landscape. Eileen began to work on imagery inspired by the bog near my home- Mouds bog- exploring its physical presence through making collographs from materials found on the bog and also its history of burial rituals and its inspiration for poets such as Seamas Heaney. Eileen is also a writer and is very interested in words and language. This project has widened the scope of her work with a broader use of ideas, from texture to text and mapping and has given her an interest in making artists books.
Recently she has developed the use of mapping as a background to drawings of buildings and monuments and streetscapes in Kildare. Her work has moved away from abstraction and become more figurative and returned to where I started with depictions of landscape and I have returned also to painting in oils and acrylics.