Sheila Turner Johnston was born in west Cork, Ireland and spent her childhood in different counties the length and breadth of the country, as the family moved wherever her father’s job took him. She attended Queen’s University, Belfast, and apart from managing to graduate against all her expectations, one of her best experiences was reading her poetry to an audience that included Seamus Heaney.
Sheila has won prizes for both fiction and non-fiction, and has written many articles for both local and national publications. She and her husband Norman founded the publishing stable Colourpoint Creative Ltd, which is now owned and managed by their two sons.
As a student in Belfast during the Troubles, Sheila Turner Johnston was used to explosions. She went to investigate a huge bomb one night, and vividly remembers standing by the rubble of a three-storey building with its front ripped off. Lit by the arc lights of the army and rescue services high on the third floor, three coats still neatly hung on their hooks on the wall above the chasm below, remnants of an innocent evening that ended in death.
Sheila doesn’t write explicitly about the Troubles, but the emotional resonance of this moment – and others like it – permeates all her writing. As she says herself, “Experiences like this force you to evaluate the human psyche, the judgements people make and how they justify, and often regret, their choices.” She is an author who dives deeply into human emotions and human relationships, exploring the grey areas between right and wrong and presenting her readers with moral and ethical dilemmas to chew over.
Also by Sheila Turner Johnston:
- Healer of My Heart Colourpoint, November 2020
- The Harper of the Only God Selected poems of Alice Milligan (as editor)
- Alice, a biography of Alice Milligan. Colourpoint 1994
- The Middle Ages (with Kathleen Gormley) Colourpoint 1997
- History In Close-Up: the Twentieth Century Colourpoint Educational, 2010
- History In Close-Up: the Medieval World (with Norman Johnston) Colourpoint Educational, 2011