I gave a talk to Transition Year students in Blackrock College on writing historical fiction, drawing on themes from Friend or Foe and One Good Turn, with particular emphasis on the topic of looting during the 1916 Rising.

The students were engaged and had lots of questions, and I even had my picture taken beside the plaque to the infamous Ross O’Carroll-Kelly!Following in famous footsteps

Blackrock visit

Blackrock College Transition Year talk

Blackrock talk



Lucky Penny

Lucky Penny brochure imageGreat event last week in the Draiocht Theatre when The Lucky Penny booklet was launched, by the Deputy Mayor of Fingal.
This was the culmination of a project in which a scene from my 1916 book, Friend or Foe, was the starting point for children in three Dublin schools to write their own cartoon stories, assisted by professional cartoonist Alan Nolan.
The children were from Scoil Thomais, Castleknock, Scoil Mhuire, Blakestown, and Mary Mother of Hope NS, Littlepace, and their artwork will be on display in the Draiocht Gallery until July 1916.
Congrats to everyone involved, and particular thanks to Sarah O’Neill in Fingal Arts Office, and Sarah Beirne, Emer McGowan and Nicola Murphy in Draiocht.

Reflecting the Rising

Friend or Foe coverIt was exciting to take part in RTE’s mammoth commemoration project, RTE Reflecting the Rising, on Easter Monday (28th March 2016).

My talk, based on Friend or Foe, was given in the DIT on Aungier Street, which felt very appropriate,
in that this was the original site of the Jacob’s biscuit factory, one of the rebel strongholds during the Rising.

Other writers such as Marita Conlon McKenna and Patricia Murphy – who have also written books set in 1916 – were also in the DIT giving talks and there was great buzz around the college, and indeed around the whole city.

World Book Day Event

Brian was joined by authors Steve Butler, Sibeal Pounder, Jonathan Meres and Shane Hegarty for the launch of World Book Day in Liberty Hall, Dublin.

Hundreds of children converged on the theatre in Liberty Hall for photographs, book signings, readings and talks by the authors.

Steve gave a hilarious account of his own childhood, Sibeal dressed volunteers from the audience as witches, Shane spoke about his Darkmouth series of books, Jonathan played the guitar, and Brian read the opening scene from his World Book Day novel, One Good Turn.

Afterwards all of the authors met the children, and the event was filmed by RTE and shown on News2Today.

Brian on stage, Liberty Hall Brian reads from One Good Turn Brian, Steve Butler, Jonathon Meres, Sibeal Pounder and Shane Hegarty

UK Summer Reading Challenge

I’m delighted to announce that my novel, Friend or Foe, has been chosen as one of the books for the UK Summer Reading Challenge.

This is a hugely popular scheme in which three quarters of a million children go into libraries to keep up their reading skills and confidence during the holidays. The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year and children sign up at their local libraries, then read six library books of their choice, collecting stickers and other rewards along the way – all FREE.

And now, all year round, the Summer Reading Challenge website helps children keep track of their reading, find new books to read, take part in competitions and play games.

Publishers from across the UK submitted over 200 finished books, manuscripts, and top secret early proofs to consider for the 2016 collections. With help from librarians and children from Chatterbooks children’s reading groups, the submissions were narrowed down to just 72 titles – and I’m flattered that Friend or Foe has been chosen for this year’s list.

Here’s a picture of some of the covers, with Friend or Foe the first book on line four.

Summer challenge covers

1916 Primary Schools Project

IMG_5773NOV 2015 – APR 2016

Friend or foe: Which side are you on? Author Brian Gallagher began this project with an epic tour of D15 schools, with the intention of visiting every 6th class primary and 1st year pupil in Dublin 15. With readings and question-and-answer sessions, Brian explores with the pupils how page-turning fiction is created.

Using themes from this fast moving historical novel, three classes will be selected to work with three artists on a 10 week visual arts project that will see pupils learn about the 1916 experience in an innovative, artistic and challenging way.

The project will culminate with an exhibition of work in Draíocht gallery from Easter 2016.

Please note: applications for this project are now closed.