Born in Newtownards in 1977, Paula Matthews is a poet, playwright and children’s author. Having had poetry published in a range of journals, she has recently launched her debut collection, The Shadow Behind Me with Lapwing. Paula’s children’s story Inky Dink Dookey Doo has recently been published by Our Story Ireland and her first play was debuted in 2014 by The Incubator. A second play, Noli Timere, dramatizing a scene from Seamus Heaney’s honeymoon, was recently performed by Lunchbox in Belfast’s Black Box theatre. Paula acted as the resident children’s author for In Touch for 2015/16 and she is the lead editor of The Launchpad. She has reviewed plays for the Tinderbox Connect Network in their Scenedocs blog and written on arts and mental health for the Community Arts partnership. As Creative Director of Marginal Theatre, Paula is completed a mentorship via an Arts Council Northern Ireland SIAP Award with Director Jo Egan and is writing and directing an original stage play called Echoes. This compliments a previous mentorship Paula completed with Moyra Donaldson via LitNet NI. As she strives to move deeper into the poetic form, Paula also plays a significant role in mental health advocacy, she founded Deep Down Arts and Wellbeing and is passionate about challenging the stigma of mental health. Paula has enjoyed a residency in the Ni Prison service and works extensively in mental health related settings using literature and music to support wellbeing. Paula is currently working with Lucy McConnell, script editor from Game of Thrones, on a screenplay about fighting through. She is acting as a community mental health consultant for Tinderbox. As well as all this, Paula is a full time social worker for adult learning disability and she never sleeps.