Annie McCartney is an actress, playwright and novelist from Belfast, capital city of Northern Ireland. She grew up in the Clonard area of West Belfast and currently lives in Belfast.
She began her creative career performing on stage while attending St Paul’s Youth Club, and went on to sharpen her skills at various feis, and subsequently in St Dominic’s High School.
Annie attended Queen’s University, where she studied English. Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, was her poetry tutor there. She was an active member of of Dramsoc, SRC, Rag and the Debating Society, and regularly demonstrated in aid of Civil Rights in Northern Ireland and against Apartheid and the Vietnam War elsewhere.
After graduating, Annie taught English for several years and found professional roles mainly with the BBC in radio and television on shows like the satirical Look Who’s Talking. During this period she worked with the likes of Sam Hanna Bell, David Hammond, Michael Heffernan and Tony Mc Auley.
In 1977 she moved to America with her husband, Iain, and there found work as a DJ for WZDQ FM and WQXI FM. She used this experience in her novel Your Cheatin’ Heart.
Thoughts returned to home after Annie had her first child, and the family unit moved back to Northern Ireland in 1982. Annie took up acting again and soon bagged her biggest role to date playing Valerie in the BBC Northern Ireland television series The Billy Trilogy, by Graham Reid, and also starring a young Kenneth Branagh in his first television role.
In this period, Annie worked with directors Danny Boyle, Peter Kosminski and David Drury, and also enjoyed a lead role in ITV’s Last of a Dying Race, by Christina Reid. Annie appeared regularly on Radio Ulster as a book reviewer, pundit, and later hosted her own show, Lifetimes, interviewing locals who found fame, including Kenneth Branagh and Simon Callow.
She contributed regularly to RTE on The Arts Show and on the Vincent Brown and Gerry Ryan shows, and was weekly Northern Correspondent for the live lunchtime TV show 12 to 1 for over two years.
In 1993, Annie began writing her own work. That same year, she won the PJ O’Connor award for Lemon Haired Ladies and also a short story competition run by RTE’s Gay Byrne Show, for which she won a computer.
Annie’s first radio play for BBC was Hearts & Bones, recorded in London in 1998 with a cast including Kenneth Cranham, Amanda Root and Michael Maloney. It was followed by Into the Mystic, Go Ask Alice, Don’t Get me Wrong, Double Vision, Occasional Swim, Every Breath you take, Fortune Cookies, Martha My Dear, Rush, Unpredicted, Staring Into The Fridge, Biggest Issues and, in 2015, Waiting List for the Fact to Fiction series.
In 1999, Annie wrote and read on Radio Ulster a series of five short stories about her childhood for a programme entitled A Word in Your Ear. This collection was also published.
In 1995, Annie’s father died. Thereafter she wrote her first novel, Desire Lines, with the character of Tommy based on her father. It was published, sold out its first edition and was republished. It also won World Book Day in 2003, thus enabling Annie the opportunity to secure Time Warner (Little Brown) as publisher for her next two books, Your Cheatin’ Heart and Two Doors Down.
Annie is currently writing a forth book provisionally entitled Memory and Desire and has just finished the first draft of a new stage play entitled Lovesick Blues.