Bigger image

More to explore...

  • Cinderfella
  • Too-Noisy

Malachy Doyle

As a child

I grew up in a little seaside town called Whitehead, at the mouth of Belfast Lough. My parents had recently moved up from Dublin and named me Malachy, after a local saint – I think they thought it would bring a blessing on the family. I was a wandering child, and I still am. I grew up in a big, old house, on a hill, overlooking the Irish Sea, and I now live on a tiny island off the coast of Donegal, in Ireland, with my wife, Liz, and black cat, Milo. My first ten years or so were idyllic, and that feeds into my picture books and the stories that I write for younger children. My next ten were more troubled, reflecting the state of the country around me, and it comes out in how I write for that age group.

As an adult

I lived in Ireland until I was 18, when I came over to England to go to college. I did a degree in psychology and then trained to teach. I taught for a year and then worked for Rowntree Mackintosh in York, firstly packing Polo Mints and then in the advertising department. I worked in advertising till I was thirty, when I chucked it all in and moved to Wales with my wife, Liz and our three little ones (who are now very big ones.) We had a smallholding – carrots and pigs, runner beans and guinea fowl, and I got a job as a care assistant in a special school. I was ‘Aunty Malachy’ for seven years and then became a special needs teacher. When I hit 40, I went to a creative writing evening class and decided, there and then, to become a writer.

As an artist

I love writing. I go for long walks along the shore (I have a four-mile beach below my window) or up into the hills and think up stories. Then I get on my computer in my wonderful writing room and try to capture the essence of what it was to be a child. I love picture books, love the magic that comes when one of my texts meets an inspired illustrator. But I also love being able to write across the age-range, so that whatever mood I’m in, whatever I feel like writing about, I have the opportunity to do it. My stories are inspired by my childhood in Ireland, by my children’s childhood, in rural Wales, by the things I’ve done and the people I’ve known, and by the folk tales of Ireland and Wales.

Things you didn't know about Malachy Doyle

  1. I am one of eleven children (I’m number seven).
  2. I used to play football for my school, but I got kicked out for scoring too many own goals.
  3. I used to be right-handed, but I taught myself to be left-handed instead.
  4. I bite my nails when I’m reading.
  5. When I was 21, I spent six months packing Polo Mints. I ended up smelling like one, and I’ve never eaten one since.
  6. Every time I sell a new story, I run up the hill behind my house and do a little dance.
  7. I grew up by the sea, but I didn’t learn to swim till I was 28.
  8. I make smiley faces out of leaves and pin them to lampposts to cheer people up.
  9. I eat too many chocolate biscuits, especially when I’m writing.
  10. I have two cats – a silly old fluffy one called Bracken and a sleek young bossy one called Milo.

Bear Logo