“What is wanting and twists our hearts and stays me here among trees to await you is a lost sense …”
(From Personae Separatae by Eugenio Montale)
Brian Fogarty was born in Hackney in the East End of London where he spent his childhood. He moved to Ealing, West London, and joined the rock band The City Lights as lead singer, aged 18. Aged 20, he met and fell in love with a girl, ‘Wossy’ (diminutive of Jocelyn ) from Buenos Aires, Argentina at a house called Almora in Ealing, West London. That same summer, two of his Jamaican friends encouraged him to write songs and poetry. Five years later he wrote his first novel, The Cage. He studied acting at Questors Theatre, Ealing and formed his own group The Intimate Theatre. He wrote, directed, and acted in a dream play with music and nude ballet entitled Journey into Autumn at The Oval House Theatre, London.
He went to live by the sea, near Chichester where he continued to write poetry and short stories, reading voraciously while he supported himself with a number of jobs e.g. washing up, factory labourer, hod carrier, warehouseman, postman, farm labourer, and photographic model. He met a beautiful Jewish girl and his feelings for her inspired him to turn his hand to drawing and painting. He studied TEFL for a year at Chichester College of Further Education and then went to live and teach English for two years in Sudan, where he learnt Arabic from his Sudanese neighbours and researched his novel Red over Blue.
He returned to the UK, living in a Cambridge bedsit near the botanical garden where he wrote several drafts of Red over Blue (at this time entitled The Chrysalis), and taught English privately, as well as at local language schools. His short story, The Greenhouse was published in the literary magazine, Panurge, to much controversy and critical acclaim. One of his poems, The Nightdress was accepted by the late Alan Ross and published in his prestigious London Magazine.
Brian Fogarty moved to Brighton in 1990, and continued working on Red over Blue. Inspired by his new surroundings, he also started work on three other novels, notably The Feeders. He took up painting and drawing again, and was awarded the David Rose Prize by the Sussex County Arts Club for his painting That Blue Dress which was chosen as the most outstanding entry at their Brighton Festival Exhibition, 2005. In 2013 had his first solo retrospective exhibition of his paintings at 28 Cork Street, Mayfair, London. In 2014 he was awarded the Chalk Gallery Poetry Prize for his poem ‘Everest‘ which came third in the Sussex Poets Competition (2013).
His collection of stories and poems, The Greenhouse, was published by Oyster Press in 2006, followed by two of his novels, The Feeders, and Red over Blue, and two poetry collections, This Side Up (2010) and Jacksonville Daze (2011). Ongoing projects include a big novel entitled Personae Separatae, after the Eugenio Montale poem, and which is also the title of the triptych of paintings he completed 50 years after meeting ‘Wossy’, who inspired both the novel and the paintings.