Paul McVeigh

Portrait Paul McVeigh
© Hartwig Klappert

Paul McVeigh was born in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast. He studied theater and was a cofounder of an award-winning theater troupe for which he both wrote and directed plays. After moving to London McVeigh wrote comedy shows, which were staged at the Edinburgh Festival and in London’s West End, before finally discovering prose.

McVeigh’s short stories have since been printed in literary magazines and anthologies, which have been published in both the United Kingdom and the US, as well as broadcast on radio stations such as BBC Radio 5. In 2015 the author published his first novel, »The Good Son«, which was on several lists of the year’s best books, was nominated for awards such as Not the Booker Prize – given by »The Guardian« – and won the 2015 McCrea Literary Award. The novel’s hero is Mickey Donnelly, who lives in a neighborhood in northern Belfast at the beginning of the Northern Ireland conflict. In this milieu his complex personality, his interest in drama and dance as well as an intelligence well beyond his years make him an outsider. While he has a poor relationship with his older brother and father, Mickey dreams of finding a way to emigrate to America with his sister, who is his best friend, and his mother, whom he loves more than anything else in the world; an endeavor that could force him to become a bad boy in order to be a good son. The Northern Irish author Lucy Caldwell remarked that McVeigh, after having promoted other authors for years as director of the annual London Short Story Festival, finally demonstrated his own literary talent with this novel. McVeigh describes Mickey’s development with great sympathy and a sharp eye for detail, and is well on his way to establishing himself as an important new voice in Irish literature. »The Independent« called the novel a highly recommendable début, as well as a convincing display of realism. Other critics consistently highlighted McVeigh’s sense of rhythm in the true-to-life language of his characters and the humor – although often dark – that makes the story so lively. In 2016 the British Council and »The Literary Platform« selected »The Good Son«, from among 160 nominated books, to be one of twelve works to participate in the joint UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature.

McVeigh is also an active blogger, whose website features authors, literary events and competition notices, as well as interviews with colleagues such as Kevin Barry, Alison Moore and George Saunders. He lives in Brighton.