Louise says her writing career is all thanks to her Clon English teacher

January 23rd, 2023 9:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

Louise said her English teacher Jo Keane set her on her writing path. (Photo: Anna Groniecka)

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CLONAKILTY author Louise O’Neill has paid tribute to her English teacher in a podcast where she meets inspirational teachers and those whose lives they’ve touched.

The first episode of the new series of Teachers Inspire podcast features Louise’s teacher, Jo Keane, who taught her English in Sacred Heart Secondary School and set her on her path to becoming an author.

Louise recalls Jo giving her a copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which she said was a defining moment in her life, and changed how she looked at everything.

She went so far as to say that Jo was responsible for her career. Jo, in turn, singled out for praise her teacher Mrs O’Byrne in Mercy Heights Skibbereen for encouraging discussion and the exchange of ideas. ‘That’s one of the joys of teaching,’ said Jo.

Louise also speaks to her sister Michelle, a primary school teacher in Clonakilty, and finds out why she wanted to become a teacher.

Teachers Inspire 2022, organised and run by Dublin City University, is now calling for nominations of inspiring teachers in Ireland and stories about the positive impact a teacher has made in their lives. The initiative, which celebrates all teachers, highlights how, in and out of the classroom, they can inspire imagination, creativity, confidence and courage. Anyone can nominate a teacher who has made a difference in their lives by going to and clicking on Share Your Story.

Nominations close  January 20th. These stories will be curated and shared, with the four most inspiring being selected and celebrated at an event in DCU in February 2023.

Louise said: ‘It’s such an honour to be a part of the Teachers Inspire initiative once again. I’m especially excited as I have had fascinating conversations about everything from Irish Sign Language and early education for children and the importance of prioritising mental health in the classroom. I’ve learned so much through recording this podcast and I hope the listeners will enjoy it as much as I have.’

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