Powered By People - Carl Hubbard

Community 3 min read

19 Jun 2020

Originally from Ringsend in Dublin, published author Carl Hubbard took the road less travelled to fulfill his dream of writing a book. Working in the book trade for many years, Carl knew what the he had to do to make a career for himself. Taking these next steps took him down a career path that he knew was important to gain life experience, but when a head on road traffic accident left Carl with injuries which changed the course of his life, it was his grit, determination and passion, with a little help from the community around him, that got him where he is today.

As a young boy, Carl spent many happy days in the library, reading and borrowing books. He nods to these moments for creating the passion inside him for reading, and how books allowed him to escape the world he lives in. “I suppose I fell in love with books because, behind that colourful illustration on the outside cover, there was a whole world that the young me could escape into and maybe even be a part of”.

In secondary school, the opportunity of work experience in Hodges and Figgis Bookshop was the beginning of his dream come true. “I love the sense of wonder and knowledge that I felt whenever I went to into a bookshop”. His passion for books transformed into a career in the book trade. Upon finishing school in 1986, he answered an ad in the jobs page of the local newspaper, which took him to selling religious books to the Irish and UK book markets. It was this role that planted the seed of possibly publishing his own work one day.

Carl felt the one thing he lacked in his career was life experience. To gain this life experience, Carl left his role in Hodges and Figgis to take the next logical step for him. This step led him to the UK Publisher of the year at the time, where he took up a role as the publisher’s representative. And almost instantly, Carl’s life was turned upside down when he endured a severe brain injury in a head-on traffic accident on his trip to Wexford.

Carl’s lust to gain life experience came “like a sledge-hammer” as he put it. The head-on collision left Carl and his loved ones facing an uncertain period of time. Carl spent 6 months in hospital, which included a stint on life support. Coming off life support, Carl’s recovery included months of speech and occupational therapy. With the help of his family, health care professional and the amazing, unrivaling support from his wife, Carl was always going to persevere. As he went through this massive change in his life, re-learning all he had known before was a massive step to achieve his new goal. And throughout his recovery, he was determined to one day tell his own story.

Restarting his career in in various areas of the book trade allowed Carl to get back on track. His career brought him around Ireland and the UK, as well as some international travel, which all contributed to his first novel ‘Amelia Lambe and the Search for Light’.

His inspiration for writing this particular story came in 2012, when Carl found an interest in his family history. When learning about all that had gone before him, he realised that no one really leaves behind a trace of who they are. This led him down a thought process of telling his own story of injury, recovery and resilience while also recounting all the wonderful places he had visited throughout his working life.

The goal for Carl was to “use real events, real people, places I have visited and life experiences to create a novel and characters that were recognisable to all”.  His aim was to ensure that his story would not be portrayed as an ‘Irish Novel, but something that would have an international appeal. His aim was for his main character “’Amelia’ to be the essence of the women who have played a role in my life”.

Carl was always determined, but in a naturally Irish way, he describes the barriers he encountered while on his publishing journey. “At the end of the day, the only barrier there was the one I put up for myself”. Facing these barriers and encountering some challenges along the way, Carl decided the best way to get his story out there was to self-publish. This is where his local credit union came in. The community around him were extremely helpful, but it was his credit union who allowed him the financial freedom to publish his work and place it on the shelves of Eason’s stores around the country.

The marketing manager of Health Services Staffs Credit Union, where Carl got the support for his novel, helped with publicity of the book to the rest of the membership ensuring their monthly newsletter featured this amazing story.

For Carl, telling his story and experiences to leave something behind for future generations was a life goal. Facing some challenges along the way, the power of positivity and people contributed to achieving this goal.  Carl has made an amazing recovery from his accident. From being told he may never walk again to serving the country in one of the busiest hospitals while also publishing his series of novels, Carl is the perfect example of people power.

On September 25th 2018, "Amelia Lambe & The Search for the Light" was launched by Carl Hubbard, a data manager in the Mater Hospital in Dublin. A health worker since 2004, the book was launched in the iconic Hodges Figgis Bookstore in Dublin's city centre, exactly thirty years since he took up his first job there. Hubbard invested over five years of research and writing in an inventive bid to capture his eighteen years of varied booktrade experience. In doing so, he has created the first female special agent to appear in a novel in decades. “Amelia Lambe” is available from Easons Bookstore which you can view here


Carl’s story was told as part of our #PoweredByPeople series – a campaign which celebrates tales of community support – and highlights exactly what the credit union stands for: people helping people. If you’d like to get involved and tell your story, we’d be more than happy to hear it. Simply get in touch by contacting Jane at jdaly@creditunion.ie.