One of 7 children, Paul grew up in abject poverty at the height of Belfast’s troubles. After university he set up a theatre company, creating plays and giving new context to existing ones. Then, moving to London, he wrote comedy shows, and taught creative writing for theatre. He worked on projects for the British Library and the Barbican Centre, before moving to Brighton.
Many of Paul’s short stories have been included in anthologies. He first wrote the debut in his thirties; but, returning to it, he rewrote it completely.
“I didn’t just change Mickey; I changed each character and gave them a story. I really enjoyed the process.”
The Good Son has been Shortlisted for a raft of awards, including The Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and the Polari Prize. It has sold to Germany, France, Hungary and Russia.
Who is Paul McVeigh
Date of birth: October 1968 in Belfast.
Education: St Gabriel’s School, Belfast; a College of Further Education for O’Level and A’Level exams; The University of Ulster, Coleraine, Theatre Studies.
Home: The Ardoyne, Belfast. “I came back a few weeks ago.”
Family: ‘My family are still in the Ardoyne.”
The Day Job: “A fulltime writer, with all that it involves; travelling to festivals; writing funding proposals, and I teaching creative writing.”
Interests: Walking and cooking.
Favourite Writers: George Saunders; Claire Keegan; Ernest Hemingway; Charles Dickens; Carson McCullers; Louise O’Neill ; Lisa McInerney.
Second Novel: “I started it last week.”
Top Tip: “Write about the things you feel passionate about. Then you don’t mind getting up at 5.00 am.”
Web: www.paulmcveighwriter.com Twitter: @paul_mc_veigh
The Debut: The Good Son. Salt: €11.75. Kindle: €4.63.
Born on the day the troubles started, Mickey is worried. He’s left primary school, and spends his summer holidays fretting. What will happen to him when he starts his new school?
Mickey loves his Ma, his younger sister, and his dog, Killer, but he doesn’t fit in. He’s different, and growing up has left him confused. These concerns are as important to the boy as the riots and shootings that are part of everyday life.
The Verdict: Tragic yet funny; sad yet redemptive; this sometimes hilarious novel encapsulates childhood in times of violence. Mickey will steal your heart.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 20th August.
© Sue Leonard. 2016.