Gavin’s mother gave him a love of books.
“She left school at 14, but discovered reading when she was having children. It was a modest upbringing but we were always surrounded by good books.”
After college Gavin taught English in Japan for two years. Back in Dublin he worked for a data based publishing company, before moving to Rome where he spent four years as a translator. After that he took an MA in Creative writing, then taught at The University of East Anglia for a year. Since then he has written full time.
“I won a scholarship which allowed me not to work. I got the idea for the novel through a biography of Engels. We know so much about Engels and Marx, but almost nothing about Engels’s Irish lover Lizzie. Being illiterate, she left no diaries or letters. I thought I could write something really interesting about her.”
Gavin researched the book for a year, spent a year writing it, and two months rewriting.
“I enjoyed the challenge of writing as a woman.”
Who is Gavin McCrea
Date of birth: 1978 in South Dublin.
Education: Balinteer Community School: University College Dublin, English and French, with a year in Belgium, then MA in American Literature. University of East Anglia; MA in Creative Writing.
Home: Between London and Spain. “I have two close friends, both have spare rooms and rent to me, when I need to be in either place.”
Family: Mother, one sister, two brothers.
The Day Job: Fulltime writer.
Interests: “In Spain I climb mountains. I walk every day before I start work.”
Favourite Writers: “I would most like to have written Albert Camus’s The Fall.”
Second Novel: “I’m working on one, and have an advance. The working title is The Sisters Now.”
Top Writing Tip: “Don’t look for approval and appreciation. That can scupper you.”
Web: www.gavinmccrea.com Twitter: @GavinMcCrea
The Debut: Mrs Engles. Scribe €20.99 Kindle: €7.74.
At fifty, Lizzie Burns hopes that through her lover, Frederick Engels life will become comfortable. But whilst Engels and Marx stir up a revolution, she struggles between the desire for independence and the need to be taken care of.
The Verdict: Exquisitely written. Lizzie’s voice is unforgettable and there are some quite wonderful one-liners.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 13th June
© Sue Leonard 2015