Novelist, poet and short story writer, Liz was born in Scotland to an Irish/Scottish family and has been living in Dublin since 1981. She is the Director of Turas Press, which she founded in March, 2017.
Her fourth collection of poetry, Learning to Tango was published in May, 2021. Her second novel, Aftermath, a historical novel set during and after the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, will come out in 2023. Her collection of short stories, Lessons, will be published by Turas Press in 2022. To read the title story of the collection, visit the online magazine Live Encounters
Liz’s other work includes poetry, short stories and fiction. Her historical novel Canticle, set in 16th and 17th century Spain, is based on the life of the Spanish mystic poet, John of the Cross; her other poetry collections are In Flight, (Lapwing, 1996); Snow at the Opera House (2002, New Island): So Long, Calypso (2017, Turas Press). Her poetry has been published in many outlets, including the Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Pages, Orbis, Stepaway, The Shop, The Stinging Fly and anthologised in The White Page/An Bhileog Bán (Ed. McBreen, Salmon, 1999) and Slow Time: 100 poems to take you there (Ed. McMonagle, Mercier Press, 2000 ). Some of her short stories have been published in The Cork Literary Review, The Irish Pages, the Honest Ulsterman, Live Encounters.
To read her story “Underground,” check out The Honest Ulsterman
To read her story “Leopold’s Violin,” visit the online joural Live Encounters
In 2016, Liz’s historical novel Canticle was a joint winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair Competition.
In 1999, she was the overall winner of the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year Award for her poetry.
In 2014, Liz worked on a bi-lingual edition of Colombian and Irish poetry, Veinte Poemas/Twenty Poems with the poet Anamaría Crowe Serrano.
Liz has worked in education, broadcasting and freelance journalism. For many years has been an independent consultant in education, training and employment policy. She has a PhD in Education from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
Reviews of Liz’s work
Anthony Glavin, writing in The Independent, said this of Canticle:
“A formidable feat of imagination underpins this marvellous detective novel set in late 16th/early 17th century Spain…Canticle is a tale for our time, rife with insitutionalised power struggles, truth and misinformation, manipulated in the interests of the elite – same as it always was and is.”
Canticle was chosen as an Editor’s pick in the February 2019 issue of the Historical Novel Review, the quarterly publication of the Historical Novel Society. Reviewer Kristen McQuinn said of Canticle:
“The characters, every one of them, have depth and life… The central theme of what truth is, both in politics and within the Church, remains so relevant today that this is a difficult novel to put down… The complexity of the politics involved, the careful layering of the plot and the unfolding events, make this a novel that you will want to savor… Very highly recommended.”
You can read Kristen’s full review in the February 2019 Historical Novel Review
Mairéad Hearne of bookblog Swirl and Thread said of the main character in Canticle:
“Fray Martín de Sepúlveda is a wonderful character, reminding me of C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake. His determination to uncover the truth, his strong principles, his unshakable morals, his cynicism and his overall personality make him the perfect detective for the time… [Canticle] is an intelligent and engrossing read about a very fascinating period of history. Liz McSkeane has created a superb character in Fray Martín and I do hope that he continues his detective work in a future novel.”
You can read Mairéad’s review of Canticle on Swirl and Thread
So Long, Calypso
In Poetry Ireland Review, Issue 127, Julie Morrissey wrote of Calypso
“Mortality, immortality, and ageing are conjured both in the title and the poems of So Long, Calypso. The collection moves between various cities and towns and is punctuated with a handful of poems about a friend struggling with old age. So Long, Calypso harbours a lasting charm…”
Poetry Ireland Review can be ordered here.
Colin Dardis’ review of Calypso can be found in the Lagan Online issue of November, 2017.
So Long, Calypso is a moving collection, one whose characters and stories are easy to empathise with and relate to… it is the memory of the speakers’ various emotions, laid out and exposed, that will stay after reading.”
Here is the full review in Lagan Online.
Radio and Video
You can hear Liz reading “Fernweg Tango,” one of the poems from her latest poetry collection, Learning to Tango, which was broadcast on the Words Lightly Spoken podcast on July 16th, 2021.
Turas Press produced a half-hour video to celebrate the release of Learning to Tango on May 27th, 2021, introduced by Anamaría Crowe Serrano and featuring Liz reading and talking about some of the poems from the collection.
To read some samples of Liz’s poems, stories and an extract from Canticle, visit her website.