• Rebecca Laidlaw

Mary Barry - Author

I’m an author! How did that happen? Well, the small matter of a worldwide pandemic is in part, responsible. With a new book, What’s an Og? ready to launch into the world, a big adventure awaits.

If 2020 has taught us anything (and 2021 is not starting out a whole lot brighter), it is certain that there is no time like the present, so a lifetime dream is being fulfilled and Malba Books is the result.

My career path… I finished school at 16. In the (ancient) school system of the time, I managed to skip ‘years’ and end up doing my Leaving Cert far too young to study for radiography, a job that my younger me thought to be very glamorous. So for the two years needed to arrive at the venerable age of 18, I studied at the local Regional Technical College (Polytech in the UK) and became a certified Science Technician. Lo and behold, once qualified, I was offered 3 jobs (those were the days!) and took the one furthest from home in Galway, renowned as a lively student and tourist town. After a couple of enjoyable years, the company I was working for changed hands and the work ethic changed, so I went back to college, got a couple of degrees, and a new career as a Microbiologist. Somewhere in the midst of all this, I got married, had a daughter, and subsequently moved with hubby and infant to a research job at the University of Arkansas. Quite the culture shock! Back in Ireland of the late 80s, jobs were thin on the ground, and over a period of nearly 2 years, one single job was advertised for a Microbiologist - as a lecturer in a Regional Technical College and I got it. I loved teaching - definitely found my calling. We moved to the beautiful county of Kerry and my college teaching career lasted for 30 years. But I also found a new love - horses. Coming late in life to the horse world, with no preconceived ideas about how they should be trained, I just knew I didn’t like a lot of what I saw. The discovery of Clicker Training which uses positive reinforcement (marker signal and reinforcers), really made sense to me. This method of communicating and working with horses, rooted in scientific principles as it is, absolutely worked. Learning all I could to become a coach myself set me on the path to teaching other horse owners to train their own horses! So leaving the reliable job, I moved into the scary world of self-employment and succeeded in working with clients and giving courses all over the world.

And then… Enter SARS Coronavirus-2 and a strange new world. It’s now over a year since I have traveled, no courses = no income. But what I have had is the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong ambition to write children’s books and the gift of time in which to do it. When my three children were young, I used phonic sounds and made up individual books for each of them to encourage them to read. They loved it and all remain avid readers!

Knowing that my stick figure art wouldn’t cut it now, my son introduced me to a friend of his, Emanuel Alba, who amongst many other talents, draws cartoon-style figures. Malba Books was born. It’s a bit of a family affair with myself at the helm and we are now on the point of releasing our first book into the world. My main message... Reading can be easy and fun to learn. This is important for every child!

The Malba Book Launch Currently available on Pre-Launch SALE on our website malbabooks.com, What’s an Og? is a beginner reader adventure into the exciting world of words. Baby Owl is brought on a journey through “og” sounds and on the way he finds a mythical Og creature. You can preorder the book and coloring book and/or download a pdf version. Please check it out! Thank you.

Careers Speed Date

First Job: Hmmm - how far back do I go? Started waitressing as a summer job in school - loved it! I enjoyed meeting people and keeping busy. First ‘proper’ post-school and 2 years college job was as a Science Technician in a research laboratory.

Currently reading: (embarrassed grin) Lots of children’s books, Giraffes Can’t Dance, The Wonky Donkey, Go To Sleep Little Peep, to name a few - no judgment folks, it’s called research!

To the younger me I would say: Believe in yourself and be brave enough to tell people honestly how you feel. You can be nice about it while still being true to yourself.

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