Helena Mulkerns worked as a freelance journalist In Paris and New York before spending nearly a decade working as a Press Officer for UN Peacekeeping in Central America, Africa and Afghanistan. She has written for Hot Press, The Irish Times, Irish Tatler in Ireland, and The Irish Echo, Rolling Stone, Cinéaste, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, the New York Times in the U.S. among others.
In 2016, her first book, FERENJI was published by Doire Press. A collection of themed short fiction set in Africa and Afghanistan, the story Dogs was shortlisted for the 2017 Bórd Gais Irish Book Awards. She has also been shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Awards, America’s Pushcart Prize and Ireland’s Francis MacManus Short Story Award. She gratefully received a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland to work on FERENJI.
Since returning to Ireland, she has freelanced in writing, indie publishing and the arts. In 2016, she founded the indie publishing collective, 451 Editions, a separate project developed over five years. Designed to provide a forum for authors to re-publish works using new publishing methods, titles include work from John Banville, Colm Tóíbín, Billy Roche and Eoin Colfer, Val Mulkerns, Mary O’Donnell, Martin Malone and Ferdia MacAnna. Due to a family illness, this project has been in haitus, but is expected to be running again in 2024.
Helena also set up, and for ten years ran The Cáca Milis Cabaret, a regular evening of the Arts, at The Wexford Arts Centre and in Dublin at The Bewleys Café Theatre and Arthurs Jazz and Blues Club. She edited and published the anthology Red Lamp Black Piano, with an introduction by Patrick McCabe, which features artists who have read and performed at the cabaret. As MC and chanteuse of the evening, Helena sings with Dublin musician Josh Johnston on piano. The cabaret will be coming back to the boards in the summer of 2024 at the Wexford Arts Centre, as part of their 50th year anniversary events. Watch this space for more details!
December 2022 saw the launch of the second edition of Helena’s book, Ferenji – stories from the field. Originally published by Doire Press, this edition extends the distribution of the paperback and eBook formats internationally and by special order from your local bookshop (see purchase links below).