Bree O’Mara: 1968 – 2010

UPDATED  (see footer)


Like many overseas publishers and authors, Bree O’Mara never made it to the London Book Fair last month. Nature has a way of intervening in our lives when we least expect it. Ash clouds from a volcano in Iceland saw to it that the skies of Western Europe were shut down to air traffic for almost a week. The London Book Fair was of particular importance to Bree O’Mara because she had a publishing contract to sign for her second novel, Nigel Watson, Superhero, as well as a speech entitled ‘What’s So Funny?‘ to deliver; not to mention the fact that her homeland, South Africa and its literature, was the specific theme for the London Book Fair this year.
Bree O’Mara was born in South Africa in 1968 to Irish parents and she was passionate about her Irish roots, as she was passionate about writing and adventure and seeing the lighter side of life. She worked as an airhostess in the Middle East before eventually moving to London, a city she would also spend a great deal of time in. While living in London, she worked in film production. Adventure for O’Mara was never far away; she travelled to Tanzania and spent some time living with the Masai tribes. She planned a number of projects over the past few years; one was to make a documentary on the Masai and she was also hoping to begin a biography of Irish-born soldier Mike Hoare (Mad Mike), the leader of mercenary groups during the Congo crisis of the 1960s and the Seychelles in the 1970s.
Bree O’Mara had some literary success in South Africa with her first novel Home affairs, a comedy set in a fictional African town. It won a Citizen Newspaper Award and national literary notoriety. She went on to complete her second novel, Nigel Watson, Superhero, choosing to set this one in London where she had lived for much of the 1990’s. While her first novel had been published by 30 Degrees South, this new novel was expected to be released for the international market.
Bree treasured her passport and the fact she was an Irish citizen. She was on board Afriqiyah Airways Flight 770 when it took off from Johannesburg at 9.37pm on Tuesday evening. Bree had intended catching a connecting flight direct to Heathrow, London. The Airbus A330-200 she flew on only went into service last September. It was carrying a total of 104 passengers and crew when it crashed heavily one metre from the runway of Tripoli Airport in Libya. The sole survivor was a ten year old Dutch boy, miraculously thrown clear of the wreckage.
Bree O’Mara was married to Christopher Leach, a chef, and they lived at Hartbeespoort Dam, in the North West Province of South Africa.
Our sympathies to Bree’s husband, family and friends, and indeed, to all who lost someone on Afriqiyah Flight 770 yesterday.
Let us hope Bree’s British publisher will follow through with their desire to publish Nigel Watson, Superhero.

UPDATE: Thurs 13th, 10pm GMT.
A number of people have contacted me in the past couple of hours wishing to locate some extracts of Bree O’Mara second novel, Nigel Watson, Superhero. Bree did archive some material here, but unfortunately her South African ISP has reached its bandwidth. If anyone knows if Bree posted any other extracts elsewhere, please feel free to post the link in the comments below.

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