Belfast Telegraph

Monday 3 August 2015

QUB Graduations December 2009: Life does begin at 40 in Sheena’s new chapter

Published 11/12/2009 | 13:22

International statesman His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, who was installed as the ninth Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast, with his wife Babli, at Queen's University Belfast
International statesman His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, who was installed as the ninth Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast, with his wife Babli, at Queen's University Belfast
His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma,Secretary-General of the Commonwealth,who was installed as Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast at a ceremony last night with University's President and Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson .
International statesman His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, who was installed as the ninth Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast, at at Queen's University Belfast.
Martina Wilson from Omagh who won the Florence Elliot Prize for best overall nursing and midwifery student at Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
Martina Wilson from Omagh who won the Florence Elliot Prize for best overall nursing and midwifery student with (from left) boyfriend Roger Johnston, and parents Celine and John.
Kimberly Thompson (left) from Ballinderry, her fiancé David Watters from east Belfast, and her sister Gail Thompson all graduated in Nursing at Queen’s School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
North Belfast woman Margaret Hesketh who returned to study midwifery at the age of 52 graduated with a BSc Honours in Midwifery Sciences. Her sister Sally McGreevy and 95-year-old mother Sarah McGreey joined her at the Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
West Belfast nurse Isabel Stewart was the first person to graduate with a first class BSc Trauma Studies degree at Queen's. It is run through a partnership between the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s and voluntary organisation WAVE, and was introduced as part of a range of new courses to help resolve the trauma caused by the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Melanie Strain, from Donaghadee, who won The Lawrence and Nora McAuliff Curtin Prize for Academic Excellence in Mental Health at Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony, with son Paul.
Aaron Elliot, from Rathfriland, with parents Maura and Patrick. Aaron won The Mary Waddell Prize for Clinical Excellence in Adult Nursing at Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
Aaron Elliot, from Rathfriland, who won The Mary Waddell Prize for Clinical Excellence in Adult Nursing at Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
Anne Domican from Drumaness who won The Moutray/McAuley Prize for Clinical Excellence in Mental Health Nursing at Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
Catherine Power from Maydown won the Dame Mary Uprichard Prize for Academic Excellence in Midwifery Sciences at Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Christina McLaughlin (Adult Nursing) and Claire McLaughlin
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Julie McSherry, Andrew Thompson (Adult Nursing) and Rachel Law (Childrens Nursing)
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Linzi Lavey, Victoria Keys, Katherine Dunbar, Michelle Mathers, Andrea Boyle and Mairead McCarron (Childrens Nursing)
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Leo Cunningham, John Branitt, Jane Branitt (Nursing), Nuala Cunningham and Thomas Branitt
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Frances McKenna and Brenda McKeever (Nursing)
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Caoimhe Dowd (Nursing) and Christopher Haddock
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Paul De-la Hunty and Helen Baldins De-la Hunty (Adult Nursing) and Emma Sweeney (Mental Health) with Gerard Hughes
Ceri Knobbs from Killaloo who won the Elizabeth Rainey Prize for Clinical Excellence in Midwifery Sciences at Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery graduation ceremony.
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Honourary Graduate Alexander McCaul-Smith who is a famous author
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Kelly McIntyre, Catherine Quinn and Nicola Oliver (Nursing)
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Nicola Carvill and Lisa Fitzpatrick (Nursing)
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Katherine Dunbar, Victoria Keys and Mairead McCarron who all studied nursing
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Paddy McCrossan, Maria McCrossan (Nursing) and Pauline McCrossan
10.12.09. Picture by David Fitzgerald. Nursing and Mid-Wifery graduations which took place yesterday at Queen's University Belfast in the Whitla Hall. Linda Allen and Dawn Adams (Midwifery)
Toni McCaul (left) and Florence Herbert, who received degrees in midwifery at the Queen’s University winter graduations yesterday

Some say life begins at 40 and for Co Down woman Sheena Wilkinson — who is about to have her first novel published — the statement certainly has more than a grain of truth.







She graduates today with a Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing from Queen’s and her book entitled Taking Flight, which she describes as “a coming of age novel set In Belfast”, will soon be on the shelves.

Sheena had always loved writing and won the Brian Moore short story award competition in 2006. As an English teacher in Belfast’s Methodist College she was able to enjoy literature on a daily basis, but when several people mentioned the MA in Creative Writing at Queen’s, she knew that it could be the perfect opportunity to further develop her passion for writing.

The month after she turned 40 she took a one-year career break from her teaching post to start the full-time course, which is run through the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in the School of English.

Sheena, who lives in Castlewellan, said: “I had heard about the course’s excellent reputation and didn’t want to look back and regret not applying and I’m so glad I did.

“Being taught by award-winning writers like Glenn Patterson, Sinead Morrissey, Ian Sansom and Carlo Gebler was amazing and the feeling of being nurtured in a writing community was a great help to me.

“A top Dublin literary agent came to speak to my class and in August she took me on and has since received an offer for my first novel.

“The teaching and support of the staff at the Seamus Heaney Centre played a huge part in my success.”

During the Queen’s course Sheena continued her success in short story writing, winning first prize in the Writers’ Bureau Short Story Award and coming runner-up in the Sean O’Faolain Competition.

Sheena’s proud mother Poppy and stepfather John watched her graduate.

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