Val Mulkerns

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Val Mulkerns
Born Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Writer
Nationality Irish
Genre Irish literature

Val Mulkerns is a noted Irish writer and member of Aosdána. Her first novel, A Time Outworn, was released to critical acclaim in Ireland in 1952. She later worked as a journalist and columnist and was often heard on the radio.

Early life[edit]

Mulkerns was born in Dublin in 1925 to James Mulkerns and Esther O'Neill. She was educated at the Dominican school at Eccles Street,[1] and grew up in an artistic family, her father being a Dublin strolling player and writer of satirical verse.


After a stint in the Irish Civil Service, she moved to England, where she worked as a teacher. During the fifties, after moving back to Ireland, she began to write, and worked as an associate editor and theatre critic of The Bell,[2] a famed Irish literary review founded by Seán Ó Faoláin.


Her two early novels were A Time Outworn (1951), and A Peacock Cry (1954).[3] While taking time off from her fiction career to raise a family in the decade that followed, she was a well-known journalist and columnist with the Irish national newspaper the Evening Press from 1963 to 1983.

In 1978 she wrote Antiquities (André Deutsch), the first of three acclaimed collections of short stories. The others were An Idle Woman (Poolbeg, 1980), and A Friend of Don Juan (John Murray, 1988). Two novels followed, The Summerhouse (John Murray, 1984) and Very Like A Whale (John Murray 1986). She has also penned two children’s books, which have been translated into German and published by Benziger of Zurich.

She was joint winner of the AIB Prize for Literature in 1984, and became the Mayo County Library’s first writer-in-residence in 1987-1988. During this time, she edited an anthology entitled New Writings from the West. She is included in several key Irish literature anthologies, including The Field Day Anthology (Edited by Seamus Deane), and The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (edited by Colm Tóibín).

Family life[edit]

Married to the late writer Maurice Kennedy, she edited a posthumous collection of his work, The Way to Vladivostok, in 2000. She lives outside Dublin, and broadcasts frequently on Sunday Miscellany, a programme of writers’ original reflections on RTE. She was most recently included in The Granta Book of The Irish Short Story edited by Anne Enright, and has also completed a memoir. Val Mulkerns is a member of Aosdána, the affiliation of Creative Artists in Ireland.


  1. ^ Mack, Virginia B. (2006). "Val Mulkerns (1925 - )". In Alexander G. Gonzalez. Irish women writers: an A-to-Z guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-313-32883-1. 
  2. ^ "Introduction". Irish University Review (Irish University Press) 38: iv. 2008. ISSN 0021-1427. 
  3. ^ "Current members - Val Mulkerns". Dublin: Aosdána. 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2012.