Gemma is an award-winning director, screenwriter, and educator. She was the Founding Artistic Director of Wilde Irish Productions in the San Francisco Bay Area and Corrib Theatre in Portland, Oregon. Gemma has taught at numerous colleges, universities, and conservatories, including UC Berkeley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, and Mills College (drama chair 2001-2004) in the Bay Area, as well as Pacific University, Portland Actors Conservatory, Portland State University, and Literary Arts in Portland. Gemma has also taught theatre and film in Singapore and has led theatre tours to Ireland and England. She is an award-winning screenwriter and film director. Her short film The Wake was the winner of the Silver Knight Award at the Golden Knight Film Festival, Malta; her feature screenplay Eye of the Storm won the Robert and Ellen Little Screenwriting Award; and her screenplay Wedding Bells won the American Gem Short Screenplay award and was optioned by Fox Broadcasting. Her short story Mayo! God Help Us was published in the Wordstock Ten Anthology. She earned her BA in English and French at Trinity College, Dublin, and has graduate degrees in Theatre (University of California, Berkeley) and Film (San Francisco State University). Her first novel is Fiona: Stolen Child. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Painting Through the Dark
Fleeing from the emotional shackles of her family in Ireland and the convent where she was training to be a nun, the feisty 21-year-old Ashling O’Leary arrives in San Francisco in 1982 with a backpack, a judo outfit, her artist’s portfolio, a three-month visa, and a determination to find a way to speak up about the abuse of girls and women in Catholic Ireland. As she becomes embroiled in a whirlwind of love, art, and deception, Ashling learns that her success as an artist and a human being depends on dealing with the ghosts of her past and speaking out on behalf of others.
Fiona: Stolen Child2011