Denis O'Hearn was born in New Mexico and is of Irish and Native Alaskan (Aleut) ancestry. He moved to Belfast in the 1970s, where he was a student and a journalist. His articles for In These Times and the Guardian introduced the Irish 'H-Blocks' prison conflict to the broad audience of progressives in the US. Since the mid-1990s he has taught at Queens University in Belfast, where he is professor of social and economic change. He was a Fulbright Scholar at University College Dublin in 1991-92 and, jointly with his work at Queens, he is now professor of sociology at the University of Binghamton in New York. He lives in Belfast.