WATCH: International Women’s Day – Rathmullan writer advises women to be their own best friend


A Rathmullan writer who says she wrote two pages of ‘bad dialogue’ which turned out to be her first play which toured around Ireland says it is important for women to be their own best friend.

Karen Quinn is a published writer and a lecturer in Writing and Communications at ATU Donegal.


Karen has been writing for over a decade and has been the recipient of many awards including the Northern Ireland Comedy Writers programme in 2016.

She is one of BBC Writersroom’s Belfast Voices 2022 and was longlisted for the Mammoth Screen TV Writer’s Award 2021, and twice shortlisted for the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting award run by the International Emmy Committee, in both 2014 and 2015.

Karen said how she became a writer was mostly down to luck.

“I discovered my love for writing while I was studying English and Drama at Queen’s University in Belfast.

“At that time I wanted to be an actor, so I was taking part in as many theatre productions as possible. I was playing the role of Bridget in Brian Friel’s Translations, and after the show I was introduced to playwright and screenwriter Owen McCafferty.

“We started talking about writing; I mentioned that I liked the idea of it.

“I had written little snippets in my younger years, and I was a really big fan of a good book, but I had never thought I could create anything substantial.


“Owen, who was the writer-in-residence at that time, asked me to write something for him regardless, so I put together two pages of (bad) dialogue and that ended up being my first play that toured Ireland.

“Honestly it has been my life ever since,” said Karen.

Reflecting on her career, Karen said she feels very lucky that she was gutsy enough to try something new.

She said as a young woman, she had a tendency to put barriers in the way of her goals and advised any woman who is trying something new, to have self belief in their goals.

“My advice to any woman who is hoping to follow their dreams is be your own best friend.

“Become aware of the things you are saying to yourself and do not put up internal barriers that act as a way that tell you that you are not enough or why you cannot succeed in your dreams. This can be driven by personal and societal experiences but it really does not matter how hard you are knocked back, all that matters is getting right back up again,” said Karen.

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