Julie Monahan is the eighth child in a family of ten, and was born into an impoverished family in a tenement in north Dublin. Her father was a heavy drinker and three of her sisters were severely disabled. Her mother worked hard to keep the family together.
The older able-bodied brothers and sisters left Dublin to seek work in the UK. Julie followed suit at the age of 20, and was recruited as a waitress by one of the Corner Houses in the Strand.
It was not until her daughter was born that she enrolled in night school to gain O-levels and A-levels. She then studied sociology at UCL and joined a life-writing class at City Lit.
She always enjoyed writing and decided to write her memoir about ten years ago, and has been working on On Charlotte’s Shoulders since, on and off. She toyed with various styles until she found a ‘voice’ to write it in, which she found the most difficult part, as she didn’t want it to be just an account of a struggling family e.g. ‘I remember when….’ ‘as my mother/father used to do/say’, ‘one day this happened’ etc. The events in On Charllote’s Shoulders are dramatised but all based in reality. The language she uses throughout is based on the ‘voices’ of the characters concerned.
She is currently working on a second volume and a novel.