Interview : John P. Brady, Author of Back To The Gaff

Déshabillé spoke to writer John P Brady about his brilliant and funny collection of short stories Back To The Gaff, which will be launched in the Icon Factory on June 16th.

Q. Are you looking forward to your Book Launch on Bloomsday?

Yeah why not! It's ultimately a day of celebration with friends. I did a small print run of Back to the Gaff in 2014 when I was living in Italy but I never actually held a launch. As you can imagine trying to sell books in Ireland while carrying out no promotion and living the opposite end of Europe is not a recipe for success! This time I got the excellent Kevin Bohan (artist and muralist at the Icon Factory, Temple Bar) on board. He did a great job on the book cover and then suggested we have the book launch in the Icon Factory. So I'm looking forward to drinking some wine with friends and hopefully meet some new friends.

Q. How did you get into writing?

I was a songwriter for ten years or more and I enjoyed the creativity but gradually I began to move towards stories as a form of expression. Several people advised me to write so I took their advice. It started with small pieces of 200 words then eventually I wrote a novel. Back to the Gaff however is a collection and I would describe it as an examination of Irish society through the eyes of a series of eccentric and outrageous characters. 

Q. Name some of your favourite writers and why?

I particularly enjoy Bukowski for the humour and literary nature of his work. You feel that you are getting a view inside the soul of this often disturbed, down on his luck but pragmatic individual. I enjoyed Hunter S Thompson's early work because it combined his abundant skill as a journalist with his interest in the depraved side of life such as recounted in Hell's Angels, where he learns some hard realities during a year spent with one of California's more notorious collectives. George Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London' has been a huge inspiration. He describes in perfect detail the struggle of the penniless and the oppressed of society. Other writers of note are John Fante and Jack Kerouac.

Q. Are you influenced by film in your writing?

Not particularly since most modern films are generally not very good in my opinion! I prefer film from the 40's to 70's because I feel the storylines are stronger and the acting vastly superior. In general I find that film must tell a story that could never happen in real life whereas my writing, while describing outrageous events and/or characters, it is always plausible. I suppose another reason is that I have different taste in film than in literature and besides there aren't a huge number of films that stick close to life experience apart from true stories but they can be oversentimental.

Q. What are your future plans?

Unfortunately I don't see there being any money in writing and while that has no impact on my decision to continue I feel it may limit the amount of time I can spend doing it. For me writing is not something I choose to do; it is something that I must do. If I want to lead a fulfilling life I know that I have to write. 

I have several projects going on slowly in the background, all potential novels. One is a comic novel about Sicily and culture shock which is complete but my initial search for an agent proved fruitless. I suppose it would need to be seen by around one hundred agents to give it a fighting chance! I will keep going until it is on the shelves, one way or another.

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