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Born in Cork, Padriag O’Tuama was one of 6 children. He studied theology with an eye on the priesthood. It was in his teens that he first began to realise that his faith, his religion and his sexuality did not sit comfortably together and that very hard, very personal choices, lay ahead of him. Still a deeply religious man, last month you may just have heard Padriag presenting BBC’s Prayer for Today on Radio 4. But you’re as likely to find him carrying a dictionary of etymology as you are a bible. For he has an almost nerdy interest even obsession with language or languages. His “In the Shelter” autobiographical work introduces the reader to many Irish phrases, it dissects and analyses English words and muses with Hebrew, Japanese, Zulu and even American Sign Language. If he’s geeky about language he has an equally geeky twin interest in story-telling. He’s co-founder of the Ten x 9 story telling movement something that started in Belfast but has spread to Australia, Britain, the Netherlands and the USA. Since moving north, Padriag has worked teaching in schools, as a chaplain and most recently as the leader of the Corrymela Peace building Community head quartered on the North Coast. But first and foremost Padraig describes himself as a poet. His poem "Shaking Hands" capturing the moment Queen Elizabeth met Martin McGuiness is just one of his works that has received wide critical acclaim.

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