CURRENT ISSUE:  OCTOBER 2023

Sue Mangan
Sue Mangan
Columnist: Blowin’ In

Meet Susan Mangan: Embracing Family Irish Roots Through Writing and Teaching

Susan writes from a Irish/Italian perspective. Her column, “Blowin’ In,” was inspired by her father-in-law’s affectionate nickname for her when she first joined the Irish community.

A “blow in” is an Irish term used to describe someone new to a place, especially on an island like Ireland. Susan embraced the term and turned it into a unique column where she shares her experiences, stories, and observations as an outsider embracing the Irish culture.

The Irish/Italian marriage is not unique in in the Irish community in America, for the for the shared core values between the two cultures of faith, family and immigration highlight the many similarities they share.

Although she’s fully American herself, her family background is a beautiful blend of Italian, Irish, English and Welsh roots. Her mother hails from Southern Missouri, while her father is of Italian descent. This diverse background is a testament to the rich tapestry of cultures in her family and in iIrish.

However, the heart of Susan’s Irish connection lies with her husband’s family, who are originally from Co. Mayo, Ireland. Her husband’s mother, the oldest of ten siblings, provided Susan with a deep connection to the Irish culture. Frequent visits to Ireland and interactions with her husband’s extended family allowed Susan to truly immerse herself in the Irish way of life.

A passionate writer, and educator, Sue’s journey as a writer and columnist for the Irish American community began about 16 years ago. The opportunity arose during a casual conversation with John O’Brien, a friend and fellow member of several Irish organizations and fundraising efforts.

At Cleveland Feis, where her children were Irish dancing, John  approached her with the idea of writing a column. With her love for writing and storytelling, she readily accepted the offer. This marked the beginning of her long and cherished writing journey.

Susan’s writing is deeply influenced by her background in literature and particular love for English literature. She draws inspiration from various sources, including family, travel, literature, and even food.

Her writing explores a wide range of topics, focusing on human connections, nature, relationships, and her own creative fiction. She infuses her writing with humor and heartwarming moments, creating a sense of connection and nostalgia for her readers.

In addition to her creative writing, Susan also teaches a creative writing course at Bay Arts in Bay Village, Ohio, fulfilling a long-held dream of nurturing aspiring writers. Her classes provide a space for like-minded individuals to explore their creativity, share ideas, and find their unique voices. She designs her classes around different themes each season, from spooky stories to historical fiction with a supernatural twist.

For Susan, One of the most rewarding aspects of her writing journey is the connection she fosters with her readers and students. Her stories often resonate with people, evoking memories, and emotions. Whether she’s bringing her father-in-law or her late mother back to life through her writing, or other characters and moments, Susan finds beauty in the fusion of sadness and joy within the human experience.

Susan’s writing has a profound impact on her readers, bringing them closer to their own roots and sparking meaningful conversations within the Irish American community. Her columns serve as a bridge between generations, preserving family history in a creative and engaging way.

As Susan continues to write, teach, and inspire others, she cherishes the sense of community and connection that storytelling brings to her life. Her dedication to sharing stories, whether about her own experiences or the lives of others, keeps the spirit of the community alive for herself and her readers.