The Profile: Carlo Gebler - Writer Finds His Creative Heaven; Carlo Gebler Came to Fermanagh 10 Years Ago and Never Left. ANNE PALMER Talks to This Prolific Writer to Find out Why .

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), June 21, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Profile: Carlo Gebler - Writer Finds His Creative Heaven; Carlo Gebler Came to Fermanagh 10 Years Ago and Never Left. ANNE PALMER Talks to This Prolific Writer to Find out Why .


Byline: ANNE PALMER

Carlo Gebler arrived in Fermanagh more than 10 years ago to research for his book The Glass Curtain: Inside an Ulster Community and he has been there ever since.

"It's such a beautiful place, I call this the golden time of year,'' he said.

The lush green rural surroundings, just three miles from Enniskillen, he says at this time of year are filled with garabaldis, purple vetch and the white hawthorn that runs through the hedgerows.

"Even if it is shaped like a worn out old pipe cleaner,'' he added.

"You have a beautiful sense that after winter the world is growing, and you should not damage that.''

The Dublin-born writer believes that something as beautiful as the environment should not be damaged, and he is concerned about the "ludicrous planning" that takes place in the county. In particular, the ribbon development, and the way trees and hedges are cut down, without any tree planting policy.

He sees the River Erne as the old Colonel and suggests that, if tourists are to keep coming here, we have to look after the place.

"The most extraordinary thing is, this place had the best salmon fishing in the world, but 250,000 salmon disappeared,'' he said. Mr Gebler attributes this to the building of the dam at Ballyshannon where the Erne meets the Atlantic, and lack of investment.

He points out that in the east of Scotland, by contrast, each salmon is worth pounds 2,500 to the local economy.

He could not have predicted when he first came to Fermanagh that, as well as writing, Mr Gebler would go on to get involved in film production in Belfast, and become writer-in-residence at Maghaberry Prison and the Maze.

In the real world, we disappear into television, friendship or drink, but in prison the only resource you have is yourself, he explained.

Although he is passionate about Fermanagh, he revealed there were some drawbacks being out of circulation in London.

"It's lonelier in the country."

"I don't ever go to parties and meet newspaper editors who say - why don't you write about X," he added.

But, in other ways, he thinks the lack of choice here makes it easier.

In the final analysis he says that everything he needs is here.

"It is a place where I have been very productive. I've written five books here, and have been making films.''

A short story and a book review is written for fortnight magazine each month.

"It is important to have that kind of outlet for which you write regularly and get seen and heard. As a writer, you don't exist until the thing is printed and is read by the reader. …

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The Profile: Carlo Gebler - Writer Finds His Creative Heaven; Carlo Gebler Came to Fermanagh 10 Years Ago and Never Left. ANNE PALMER Talks to This Prolific Writer to Find out Why .
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