Former barman turns passion for writing and illustrating into delightful children's books

Trev Burke now works in Scoil Mhuire, Ballincollig, where children delight in reading his creations.
Former barman turns passion for writing and illustrating into delightful children's books

Trev Burke, who is the author and illustrator behind Happy Attic Stories. The writer came up with his first illustrations during his days working as a barman.

A former barman discovered his passion for writing children’s books after sketching illustrations between drink orders, some of which still have Guinness stains.

Trev Burke, who has lived in Cork city for 20 years, now works as a cleaner in Scoil Mhuire, Ballincollig where children delight in reading his creations. The 40-year-old has penned 11 books to date in a series featuring two unlikely heroes - Purple and Reggie,  and a host of colourful characters. 

Author and illustrator Trev travels to markets and tradeshows all over Ireland with his wife Clare, where his collection has proved extremely popular. His dream is to one day link up with a publisher so that he can bring the stories to a wider audience.

“A lot of my early sketches have Guinness stains,” he laughed. “I was managing a bar in a theatre and my dog Rocket would come with me. He became like a staple in there."

Trev’s first illustration was drawn after he found himself in need of a present for his new-born niece, who is now seven.

“When my niece was born I didn’t have money for a present so I thought it might be more sentimental to draw something," he explained, adding that this eventually led to the creation of his characters. 

Trev revealed that his dream is to get every child reading. 

"As a child I found it very difficult because I loved books - I loved the smell of books and turning the pages. 

"The only thing I wasn’t able to do was read them," he explained. "I have dyslexia and didn’t learn to read until the age of 12. One of the best days I can remember was when we had to read 'Where’s Wally?'. This was my first time being top of the class because I had those eagle eyes that meant I could find Wally in almost any location. It was an amazing feeling to have a book that was accessible to me.” 

Trev said he was inspired by the staff and children of the school where he works.

“Principal Mairéad Ní Mhurchú has been very supportive and told me that the books are an inspiration even though they are the ones who inspired me," he said. 

"I didn’t think the children were reading them until they started coming up to me, wanting to know what happens next.” 

Find out more about Trev’s books by visiting, and Happy Attic Stories on Instagram or Facebook.

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