We were sad to learn that among those killed in last week’s Afriqiyah Airways crash in Libya was the talented Irish-born writer Bree O’Mara, 42. She was en route from her home in South Africa’s North West Province to London to sign a publishing deal for her second novel, Nigel Watson, Superhero. O’Mara had been slated to travel to London earlier, but was delayed by the volcanic ash cloud.
O’Mara got notice for her first novel, Home Affairs (2007), a rendering of the “new,” post-apartheid South Africa. Critics and readers praised her sharp, satirical style. It won the Citizen Book Prize, decided by popular vote in South Africa.
Ironically, O’Mara had worked as a flight attendant early in her career, for Bahrain Air. After appearing in a television commercial for the airline, she was recruited by the commercial’s producer to become art director of his production company. She also worked in public relations and journalism in London, and spent a year living with the Masai in Tanzania with the British charity Mondo Challenge. She moved back to South Africa in 2006, meeting her husband-to-be on her flight back.
O’Mara described her new book as a novel “about turning 30, hating your job, and finding your wings.” We hope that audiences will still get the chance to read it.
- Cary Barbor