For almost 25 years, Gebler worked as a teacher and writer-in-residence in the Maze and Maghaberry Prisons. In his 2016 book of short stories based on that experience, The Wing Orderly’s Tales, he gives a fascinating insight into the inmates he worked with and why some people end up committing crimes. Previous work considering imprisonment and its consequences includes A Good Day For A Dog (2008) and My father’s Watch (2009) – the latter written with Patrick Maguire is an intensely moving memoir of his co-author, one of the ‘Maguire Seven’, wrongly imprisoned as a teenager for making bombs for the IRA.
Gébler has already proved himself a master at transmuting historical facts into compelling fiction…And in this new novel he’s just as adroit at creating psychological and dramatic suspense out of known facts … a book so rich in characterisation, so expertly paced and so well written that it works equally well as absorbing social history and page-turning thriller.Irish Independent
As a catastrophist who never doubted from the moment he started that conditions in what he calls the Kingdom of Letters would only get worse, Carlo Gébler is not in the least surprised by how things have turned out. It was always going to go downhill and in his Confessions of a Catastrophist (2015) he described that process but in his own personal, idiosyncratic and caustic way. The book is an intriguing mixture of pungent, fierce and striking memoir with pithy mordant notes on the literary trade, on the books he’s written and why he wrote them, and on the difficult business of negotiating a way through the thickets and trying to make a living. Also published in 2015 was his part biography/part memoir about his relationship with his father Ernest Gébler: The Projectionist: The Story of Ernest Gébler. He tells the enthralling story of his father’s life, covering his strange and alienated childhood, his disastrous family relationships, his marriage to writer Edna O’Brien, his staunch socialism and uncompromising disciplinary attitude, and his final heartbreaking struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Carlo Gébler was born Dublin in 1954, the eldest son of writer parents, Ernest Gébler and Edna O’Brien. He was educated at Bedales School, the University of York, where he studied English, and the National Film & Television School. He has a PhD from Queen’s University, Belfast. He started his career in television and made a number of documentary films for Channel 4 and others. Gébler is also the author of novels, short stories and radio dramas. As well as his film-making and literary work, Gébler has also worked as a teacher and academic. In the early nineties he was the creative writing tutor at the Maze prison and since 1997 he has been the writer-in-residence in HMP Maghaberry. Gébler has taught at Queen’s University Belfast and has contributed to the creative writing programme at the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin, for many years and currently teaches the ‘Writing for a Living’ course there. He was elected a member of the Aosdána in 1990. He is a past chairman of the Irish Writers’ Centre. He is married with five children and currently resides outside Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
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