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'It felt like you were only allowed a certain number of steps in the process of setting up a career — make the wrong move and it was all over'

This week, five writers share the moments that changed their lives, here, Liadan Hynes opens up about the career diversion that shaped her future

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Liadan Hynes with baby Sarah

Liadan Hynes with baby Sarah

Liadan Hynes with baby Sarah

Despite having spent most of my life wanting to be a journalist, by the time I actually got around to becoming one, I had all but abandoned this lifelong plan.

From the time I knew what having a job was — specifically, the day Charlie Bird came to our school during careers week in fifth class — I had wanted to be a journalist. I edited the school newspaper (just one issue — up, and then down, in a blaze of glory), and constantly wrote short books at home in the style, or so I imagined, of early PG Wodehouse. Thankfully, these creations have been lost somewhere along the way.

But fear at the prospect of anyone actually reading anything I had written began to creep in. By secondary school, I wanted to curl up and die when an essay of mine was picked to be read out in class.