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Friday 19 September 2014

'Independent' writer Orla Tinsley chosen for US scholarship

Published 15/05/2014 | 02:30

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Orla Tinsley

INDEPENDENT.IE and Irish Independent writer Orla Tinsley has been selected for a prestigious writing scholarship in the US after writing her submission while battling swine flu.

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The 27-year-old journalist from Newbridge, Co Kildare, will travel to New York in August to begin studying for an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing at Columbia University.

The Ivy League university has a pioneering medical centre dedicated to cystic fibrosis research and treatment on campus, and its adult cystic fibrosis programme offers state-of-the-art clinical care.

Ms Tinsley, who has cystic fibrosis, was awarded the scholarship based on her application, which included an essay on Patti Smith's autobiography 'Just Kids'.

She says she wrote the essay while battling swine flu in hospital, and managed to get her application in with 29 minutes to spare.

"It's incredible. I feel very lucky. Columbia is an amazing university," she said. "It's such an incredible coincidence that Columbia has one of the best CF centres in North America.

"I applied for the course at the start of the year. It was a shot in the dark but I was hoping that I'd get in. The course is really incredible. I am so grateful to have been awarded a scholarship there and feel so lucky."

As a campaigner for cystic fibrosis care, Ms Tinsley is also keen to learn as much as she can about treatment and care at Columbia. The two-year MFA programme offers students the opportunity to teach high school students. Notable Columbia alumni include the actor James Franco and director of 'Walk The Line' James Mangold.

Before Ms Tinsley leaves Ireland, her friends and family will hold fundraisers to help with her tuition.

Irish Independent

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