Writing

paid in full

Image - Paid in FullDrama on Newstalk recently aired the premiere of PAID IN FULL”, my radio play that looks at the murder-mystery genre in an Irish setting, with twists, turns, and nothing being quite what it seems.

Written in the style of “DEATHTRAP” and SLEUTH”, PAID IN FULL” goes beneath the surface in a small Irish village that seems peaceful and law-abiding. But appearances can be deceptive, and dangerous game-paying is taking place behind closed doors. Who is telling the truth, and who is lying? And more importantly, who is likely to live and who is going to die? With greed, adultery and murder on the menu, a lethal cocktail is served up to the listener.

Can anyone guess what’s going to happen next as the twisting plot leads this way and that? Tune in to the podcast, to hear a top-rate cast immerse themselves in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Starring Aonghus Og McAnally, Sharon Hogan, Mark O’Regan, Mary Murray and Marion O’Dwyer, PAID IN FULL was written and produced by Brian Gallagher.  The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

PAID IN FULL can also be listened to as a podcast at http://www.newstalk.com/documentaryonnewstalk

 

busy with words

My radio documentary BUSY WITH WORDS will be air on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday February 18th at 7.00 a.m. and will be repeated on Saturday February 24th. at 9.00 p.m. It can also be listened to as a podcast after the broadcast at Documentary on Newstalk.

BUSY WITH WORDS is a documentary about the resurgence of interest in the life and times of writer John D Sheridan. Featuring performances by renowned actor Des Keogh, and with contributions from Sheridan’s surviving family, the programme explores the life of this once famous humourist and novelist, and also looks at how the community in East Wall reclaimed a part of their cultural heritage, by republishing Paradise Alley, one of Sheridan’s books that was set in the area.

Tracing the author’s life from when his Donegal family arrived in early twentieth century Dublin, we hear from historian Sean Boyne about Sheridan’s attending O’Connell’s school during the 1916 era, and from Caitriona Ni Cassaithe about social conditions, and his teacher training, in the then very conservative St Patrick’s college.

Joe Mooney of the East Wall Historical society tells of how John D Sheridan taught in East Wall school, and we hear colourful reminisces from 90 year-old past pupil Charlie O’Leary, who went on the be the kitman for the Ireland soccer squad during the Jack Charlton era.

Joe Mooney recalls how Sheridan’s novel Paradise Alley pre-dated Strumpet City by twenty years in dealing with the 1913 Lockout, and present-day pupils from East Wall school read one of Sheridan’s light-hearted poems.

Actor Des Keogh, who adapted many of John D Sheridan’s humorous essays for the stage, reads one of his most famous pieces, I Know How You Feel.

John P Sheridan, the author’s son, reflects on what it was like living with a famous father, and Joe Mooney tells of how everyday life in East Wall found its way into Sheridan’s fiction. Poverty and bad working conditions were serious problems in the East Wall of that era, and Sheridan’s righteous anger at the lack of opportunities afforded his pupils comes across in readings from Paradise Alley, by Brendan Laird, an actor and past of the school.

Caitriona Ni Cassaithe and Joe Mooney tell of the local reaction to the republishing of the novel, and the last word is left to Charlie O’Leary, who compares Sheridan to James Joyce and Sean O’Casey, and who states that we can’t do enough to bring John D Sheridan back to the forefront.

Quotes from BUSY WITH WORDS:

“I’m only meeting him for the first time, and I nearly fell in love with the man after one day. It shows you how a child can be affected.” Charlie O’Leary, former Ireland kitman and past pupil.

“If anyone were to ask me to name one person who I think of as a supreme essayist, it would be John D. Sheridan”. Des Keogh, actor and broadcaster.

“The main characteristics that were imbued in the students were that they had to be middle-class, religious, show few signs of dissent and be manly.” Caitriona Ni Cassaithe, St Patrick’s College.

“The houses were probably the first houses in Ireland, designed by women, to suit women.” Joe Mooney, East Wall Historical Society.

“You don’t think of your father as a very famous man…he was just somebody you might be kicking football with in the back garden.” John P. Sheridan, author’s son.

BUSY WITH WORDS was edited and produced by Brian Gallagher.  The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIc for Busy WIth Words

Canadian launch of Arrivals

Just back from Canada where Arrivals was launched in the grounds of Lakefield College School, by Mary Smith, the Mayor of Lakefield. Also present in the photo are John Boyko, former Dean of History at the college, and Phyllis Williams, Chief of the Ojibwe at the Curve Lake Reserve.

It was exciting to have the launch in the very location where so much of Arrivals plays out, and an honour to have such important dignitaries present. The event was covered by the Lakefield Herald and What’s on in Peterborough, with television coverage on Chex TV’s popular evening show, Newswatch.

The launch was followed by a reading, a lively questions and answers session, and drinks on the deck of the boathouse. Even the weather was perfect, with a golden sun dipping below the horizon just as the event finished!

VISITING BLACKROCK COLLEGE

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

 

 

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