Actor Niamh Algar and writer Emma Dabiri are two rising stars to watch in 2019, according to The Observer’s annual list.

An Irish writer/scholar and an Irish actor have been named to British newspaper The Observer’s annual list of Rising Stars to watch in the year ahead.

Mullingar born actor Niamh Algar and Dublin born writer and scholar Emma Dabiri are two of the ten people honored on the list from the worlds of culture, arts, science and activism. They might not be household names yet, but chances are they will be by the end of the year.

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Algar, 26, is currently best known for her lead role in the acclaimed indie film Without Name and has a busy year ahead. 2019 will see her star in the Shane Meadows mini-series The Virtues; the Channel 4 series Pure, adapted from Rose Bretecher’s book about living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; and the BBC thriller MotherFatherSon, where she’ll play opposite Richard Gere in his small-screen debut. As The Observer puts it, “Algar will be all over our screens in 2019.”

She hasn’t had to worry about being recognized just yet. “No one has a clue who I am,” she told the paper. “It’s great. Except when I go home to Ireland and my family are like, ‘Hmm, you look familiar. You’re the youngest, aren’t you?” She rolls her eyes. “I only moved away two years ago. Families, eh?”

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Emma Dabiri is a scholar, critic, writer, and broadcaster whose first book, Don’t Touch my Hair, will be published in May. Dabiri grew up in 1980s Dublin, the daughter of a black Nigerian father and a white Trinidadian-born Irish mother. As she told The Observer, this gave her a highly developed social and cultural consciousness from a young age. Case in point, instead of doing her First Communion, Dabiri wrote and produced an anti-slavery treatise.

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“I started reading [black history] very young,” she told the paper. “I experienced a lot of racism as a child, and reading about the global black struggle helped me contextualise what was happening to me.”

Dabiri worked as a model and in international aid and development in Ghana and before pursuing her PhD in visual sociology at Goldsmiths and becoming a teaching fellow in the Africa department at SAOS in London. She blogs as the Diaspora Diva and has presented in programs including Is Love Racist on Channel 4 and Back in Time for Brixton on BBC 2.

What other Irish rising stars should we be on the lookout for in 2019? Tell us in the comment section or on Facebook.