Writing – as everyone will tell you – is a pretty solitary occupation. And it’s one where you’re sitting down for a lot of the time. On that basis, having interests outside of sitting at the desk making things up, isn’t a bad thing!
My main physical activity is badminton, a sport I’ve played ever since my early twenties. These days I play for Raheny Badminton Club, on Dublin’s northside. I’ve played competitively on league and cup teams ever since I first picked up the racquet and am delighted to be still winning titles with Raheny.
You learn a lot from sports, mainly how to accept losing and learn from failure, and how to be part of a team. You also make a whole new circle of friends and broaden your own horizons, which is why I passionately believe that everyone should have some kind of sporting interest.
I was a director of Badminton Ireland for 10 years and now I’m a director of the Irish Sports Council, where we strive to widen participation in sport while also helping elite athletes fulfill their potential.
Helping women to fulfill their potential is another passion of mine. I don’t just mean in the workplace, although that’s hugely important, but in their lives generally. Women are often the ones who sacrifice their own dreams to help others and it’s essential that all of us know our worth and are helped to achieve our goals, whatever they may be. I’m proud to be an ambassador for the Women’s Fund, Community Foundation of Ireland, which uses philanthropic donations to assist various projects for women.
And, of course, helping young people to develop their creativity will always be an abiding passion, so I’m equally proud to be a director of Fighting Words, the creative writing centre founded by Booker prizewinning author, Roddy Doyle. The excitement and energy from the participants at the Fighting Words courses is always totally inspiring!