Clare Gallagher

Clare is a primary school teacher from Northern Ireland. Specialising in early years education, she fled the world of cut knees and runny noses to embark on a Master’s in Creative Writing at Bath Spa in 2015. Her principal has been looking for her since. She received a Distinction in her MA and an award from Arts Council NI to assist in the completion of her novel. She has little else to recommend her.

The Leapling is a wry, comic novel set in present-day Northern Ireland. It tells the story of insurance broker Nigel Breslin, whose life is dominated by the women in it: his emotionally aloof mother and overbearing wife, Martha. As a ‘leapling’ (born on the 29th of February), even the date of his birthday celebrations is subject to female whims. When he loses his wife, home and job in quick succession, Nigel is forced to do the unthinkable: strip off. Through life modelling, colour creeps into his days, and his wardrobe. He finds friends in strange places, love where he’d least think to look, and discovers birthmarks can be an unexpected blessing.