Harry Gallagher grew up amid the heavy industries of Middlesbrough and now lives in a small coastal village near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. He has written poetry all of his life, alongside working as a singer songwriter and playwright.
Throughout the 1980s he worked along with pretty much the last generation of men of his town who had spent their lives 'at the works', which belched out all sorts of unmentionable substances that they and their families breathed without question. Their work was often brutal and Harry saw first hand how the old cliché 'Hard work never harmed anyone!' was a lie. These people and the lives they led continue to have a profound influence on his writing.
The terrain of the North is now unrecognisable from thirty years ago. Harry digs deep into the nooks and crannies that have grown between then and now. He looks at a region and its people transformed, not always for the better. Much of the heavy industry has gone, to be replaced by the zero hours contract world of service and retail sector work, leaving adrift a whole generation of people who were raised to work in 'jobs for life'. These people, their lives and their families are the lifeblood that pumps through Northern Lights.
Despite tackling subject matter that could be considered somewhat gloomy, Harry himself is an optimist. To quote a recent review, "Gallagher excels at finding harmony in unlikely places, in juxtapositions; extrapolating subtleties of nuance towards an expression of love, he is, in the end, a poet of hope" (Yorkshire Times) Northern Lights is, in the end, a love letter to the people of the North, a region often buffeted and battered by stormy conditions but which in the end always prevails.