O’Brien was born a long time ago in Toronto, Ontario. He grew up in
the Weston area and unlike many writers he had very little interest in reading
or writing. Oh, he could read and he could write but only when the adults
around him insisted upon it.
Later he moved to Etobicoke and attended Michael Power High School. Ah, so this is where he caught the writing bug, you say. Nope. Still basically reading and writing when it was insisted upon. Though he did write a couple of pieces in high school that made him think, “Hey, you’re not actually half bad.” But did he dive into the world of writing? Not a chance. He went to Africa. Now that’s enough to inspire anyone to write, isn’t it? Think Hemingway. But Gerry only managed to crank out a few obligatory letters to his mother and Loretto, his wife-to-be. Upon his return to Canada he worked at various jobs. They were interesting enough but uninspiring. Creative writing was not a major part of these jobs. The worst thing was that they required him to wear a tie. Along the way he acquired a degree from York University but again the only writing he did was that which his professors insisted upon. His Uncle Tom Calnan suggested he give teaching a try [you wouldn’t have to wear a tie!]. Ah ha, so this is where the writing bug bit him, right? Well, yes, but it took awhile. This is where he learned the lesson that if you’re going to be a writer then you’d better be a reader. Gerry always enjoyed reading to his students and particularly enjoyed reading humorous books. He read hundreds and hundreds of them. He read so many of them that he began to think that maybe he could even write one! After many years in teaching, a grade 4/5 class he had at St Francis of Assisi School in Newcastle, Ontario got the itch to be in the school board’s first ever Drama Festival. Well, Gerry looked high and wide for a suitable play but found nothing to his liking. His students told him he should write one and make it funny. They even jokingly suggested he could write one about a kid who gets his finger stuck in his nose! “Bubba Begonia, You’ll Be Sorry!” was born.
Gerry now lives in Argyle Shore, Prince Edward Island with his wife Loretto and does some substitute teaching while devoting most of his time to writing. He has written two prize winning picture books and is currently working on a third Bubba Begonia adventure.
As well, Gerry is the lyricist on three songs co-written with Tom Szczesniak and Ray Parker for Nelvana Productions in Toronto. One is featured in a Franklin The Turtle movie, another is the theme song for the children's TV series called "Corduroy Bear" and the third is sung by Funshine Bear in the Care Bear movie Care Bears and The Journey to Joke A Lot. Gerry also has a poem entitled “Tis The Season” in Canadian Poems For Canadian Kids [edited by Jen Hamilton] published by Subway Books, Vancouver.
He owns one tie which rarely leaves its hook.
In December 2009, Gerry moved to Kitchener Ontario to be closer to his kids and grandkids.
Email --- GerryOB@gmail.com