A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Shirley-Anne McMillan is a writer of contemporary fiction for Young Adults. She lives in rural Co. Down with her family and also works atShimna Integrated College as the Alternative Chaplain, running a high school Gay Straight Alliance and a Peace and Integration initiative.
In 2013 Shirley-Anne won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ‘Undiscovered Voices’ competition with an extract from her novel, A Good Hiding.
A Good Hiding was published by Atom in 2016. The Irish Independent called it ‘A brisk and breezy novel that, despite the heavy subject matter, had me laughing aloud more than once’. Her second novel, The Unknowns, was published by Atom in December 2017.
Shirley-Anne likes Nick Cave, singing, making zines, and walking in the woods.
Nollaig has survived life in Belfast with her alcoholic dad on wits, courage and the gift of the gab. But now she’s frightened: not for herself, but for the baby she’s secretly carrying.
She decides to run away. She finds refuge in the little-used crypt of a local church. She plans to stay there until after Christmas, when she’ll be sixteen and free to leave home for good.
The only person she tells about her pregnancy, her plans, and her hiding place is her best friend Stephen. He knows only too well how dangerous the truth can be, if the truth marks you out as ‘different’.
When the church’s vicar discovers them, they think their time is up; but they’ve discovered his little secret – and will use it against him if he reveals theirs.
Overlooked by an angel in the stained glass, these three souls-in-hiding face the choice before them: a life hidden in the safety of shadows, or a life lived freely, fully fledged and in plain sight?
“A commendable message, delivered without finger-wagging, in a brisk and breezy novel that, despite the heavy subject matter, had me laughing aloud more than once.” – Irish Independent
Tilly is perched at the top of Belfast’s largest crane. She likes to climb up high at night in order to feel free from a city which, despite the best PR, is still full of trouble and conflict. Eventually, she comes back down to discover her bike is missing and in its place is a boy named Brew. Wearing eyeliner and high-heeled boots, he offers her a drink from his flask of coffee before disappearing into the night. The next morning, Tilly’s bike is returned, but tucked into the spoke of the wheel is a card with Brew’s number on it.
As Tilly learns to trust Brew, he leads her into a world she never knew existed – a world of parties in abandoned houses, completing missions that involve break-ins, and risking everything just to help strangers in need; the world of The Unknowns. What Tilly doesn’t anticipate is that they will also make her question everything she was brought up to believe in, and force her to make a choice that will stay with her for the rest of her life.