Tim has been writing novels since he was 15. Leaving Dublin shortly after starting a PhD, he fled to Mexica, and taught English.
“After nine months, I met a load of foreign correspondents, and thought they were interacting and, potentially making a difference, so I started pitching stories to the Irish Times, The Washington Post and Washington Times, and Al-Jazeera among others.
“I was doing well, and having a nice time. But I was doing a lot of coke and acid at weekends, and that cancelled out the moral benefit of interviewing people who were complicit in the violence or victims. It became morally unmanageable, so I quit and became clean in 2014.”
Applying for UEA, he wrote a novella in a month, and by the time he left with his MFA he had completed the debut. He is also a published poet.
Who is Tim MacGabhann?
Date of birth: 1988 in Kilkenny.
Education: CBS Kilkenny. Trinity College Dublin. BA, and started a PhD on Dante and Joyce. University of East Anglia, MA in Creative Writing in 2016.
Family: Partner, Jany, an interpreter. “We’re a team. She believes in me when I don’t.”
The Day Job: Fulltime writer. “An Arts council literary bursary in 2017 helped an awful lot.”
In Another Life: A session guitarist with total mastery of the craft.
Favourite Writers: Alice Munro; “she breaks every single rule of short story and gets away with it. She is magnificent.” Middle period Seamus Heaney; Elizabeth Bishop; John Dos Passos.
Second Novel: How to be Nowhere, a sequel.
Top Tip: Set a laughably low daily wordcount and give yourself a medal when you achieve it. And try to have fun.
The Debut: Call Him Mine: Weidenfeld and Nicolson: €18.95. Kindle: €9.93
It’s modern day Mexico, and Andrew’s photographer boyfriend, Carlos, delves too deeply into a murder, and is killed. Were the police complicit? Will Andrew find answers and gain justice and revenge?
“My neighbour was murdered in similar circumstances. Andrew is my kind of stunt double. I wanted to put him on trial and make him react in an emotional, weak way, as I probably would.”
The Verdict: A superb, realistic, rollercoaster of a read from an incredible new talent.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 13th July
© Sue J Leonard. 2019.