Patrick McGuinness FRSL FLSW (born 1968) is a British academic, critic, novelist, and poet. He is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford, where he is Fellow and Tutor at St Anne's College.

Patrick McGuinness
McGuinness in Paris
McGuinness in Paris
Born1968 (age 55–56)
OccupationPoet, novelist, academic, literary critic

Life edit

McGuinness was born in Tunisia in 1968 to a Belgian mother and an English father of Irish descent from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He grew up in Belgium and also lived for periods in Venezuela, Iran, Romania and the UK.

Work edit

McGuinness's production is divided between literary criticism and fiction, memoir and poetry. His first novel, The Last Hundred Days (Seren, 2011) was centred on the end of the Ceaușescus' regime in Romania, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Writer's Club First Novel Award; a French version was published under the title Les Cent Derniers Jours.[1] It won the Writers' Guild Award for Fiction and the Wales Book of the Year. He won Wales Book of the Year a second time , in 2015, for his memoir Other People's Countries. His second novel, Throw me to the Wolves, won the Encore Award for best second novel from the Royal Society of Literature. It is a fictionalised account of the murder of Joanna Yeates in Bristol in 2010, and the subsequent persecution and false accusations against schoolteacher Christopher Jefferies, who was McGuinness's English teacher at school in Bristol in the 1980s.

Literary Criticism and Scholarship edit

Patrick McGuinness is a Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford, and Fellow in French at St Anne's College St Anne's College, Oxford. Among his academic publications there is a study of T. E. Hulme,[2] an English literary critic and poet who was influenced by Bergson and who, in turn, had a strong influence on English modernism. He is the author of a book on the Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck and modern theatre, and a book on poetry and radical politics in late 19th C France. He has also translated Stéphane Mallarmé,[3] a major symbolist poet, and edited an anthology in French of symbolist and decadent poetry.[4]

McGuinness edited two volumes of the Argentinian-Welsh poet and novelist Lynette Roberts, who was highly appreciated by T. S. Eliot and Robert Graves. According to McGuinness, Roberts "might fairly be claimed to be our greatest female war poet" whose work "constitutes one of the most imaginative poetic responses to modern war and the home front in the English language."[5]

Poetry, Fiction and Memoir edit

Daytime Drinking

First sip: gentle as a stream overreaching,
supple as a rope-bridge in the air;

The second, long as the creak of floorboards,
firm as a leg-iron clasp;

The third, sudden as the trap door beneath you,
the rudderless slide back to thirst.

From Jilted City (2010)[6]

McGuinness published his first poetry collection, The Canals of Mars, in 2004.[7] His poems have appeared in numerous athologies and translated anthologies of British and Irish poetry.

Patrick McGuinness's first novel, The Last Hundred Days, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2011. A thriller dealing with the collapse of communism, it is set in Ceaușescu's Romania, one of the most paranoid totalitarian regimes where spying on the citizens' private lives threatens all human relationships. The protagonist is an English student teaching in Bucharest,[8] where McGuinness himself lived in the years leading up to the revolution.

In 2011, McGuinness was elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.[9]

His memoir of childhood in the Belgian town of Bouillon, 'Other People's Countries: A Journey into Memory', appeared in 2014 and won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Wales Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Pen Ackerley Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

In 2015 he published Poetry and Radical Politics in fin-de-siècle France: From Anarchism to Action française (Oxford University Press).

His second novel, Throw Me to the Wolves, was published in 2019 by Cape and won the Royal Society of Literature's Encore Award.It was also longlisted for the Crime Writers' Association (CWA)'s Gold Dagger Award. It is part detective thriller, part meditation on memory.[10]

In 2021, he published Real Oxford, a personal book, part urban topography, part literary wander, about the Oxford beyond the classic university city.

He is the editor of 2-volume Penguin Book of French Short Stories, 2022.

His most recent book of poetry is Blood Feather, published by Jonathan Cape.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Prizes and awards edit

  • 1998 Eric Gregory Award
  • 2001 Levinson Prize, Poetry (Chicago) and the Poetry Foundation
  • 2005 Roland Mathias Prize, shortlist, The Canals of Mars
  • 2006 Poetry Business Competition, 19th Century Blues
  • 2009 Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques
  • 2011 Costa Book Awards, shortlist, The Last Hundred Days
  • 2011 Longlist, Man Booker Prize, for The Last Hundred Days
  • 2012 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres[11]
  • 2012 Winner Wales Book of the Year Award for The Last Hundred Days[12]
  • 2012 Winner Writers' Guild Award for Fiction for The Last Hundred Days.
  • 2012 Winner Prix du Premier Roman Etranger for French translation of The Last Hundred Days.
  • 2012 Winner Prix Millepages for Les Cent derniers jours.
  • 2012 Finalist of Prix Médicis étranger for Les cent derniers jours.
  • 2012 Finalist of Prix Femina étranger for Les cent derniers jours.
  • 2014 Winner of Duff Cooper Prize for Other People's Countries
  • 2015 Winner, Wales Book of the Year for Other People's Countries
  • 2015 Shortlist, Pen Ackerley Prize, Other People's Countries
  • Shortlist, James Tait Black Prize , for Other People's Countries
  • 2015 Shortlist Jean Michalski Prize, Other People's Countries
  • 2015 Shortlist, Gordon Burn Prize, Other People's Countries
  • 2016 Winner of the Gapper Prize for French Studies, for Poetry and Radical Politics in fin de siècle France
  • 2017 Shortlisted for the Notting Hill Essay Prize for 'The Future of Nostalgia'
  • Longlisted for the 2020 Crime Writers Association Golden Dagger Award for Throw Me to the Wolves
  • 2020 Winner of Encore Award for Throw Me to the Wolves[13]
  • 2023 Winner of the Prix Triennal du Rayonnement des Lettres Belges, Prix Léo Beeckman, for contribution to the literature of Belgium.

Bibliography edit

  • T. E. Hulme: Selected Writings (Carcanet Press/Routledge USA, 1998, 2003) ISBN 978-1-85754-722-1
  • New Poetries II, an anthology, edited by Michael Schmidt, Carcanet, 1999, pp. 70–76 ISBN 1-85754-349-1
  • Maurice Maeterlinck and the Making of Modern Theatre Oxford University Press, 1999 ISBN 0-19-815977-3
  • Symbolism, Decadence and the 'Fin de Siècle': French and European Perspectives (editor) University of Exeter Press, 2000 ISBN 978-0-85989-646-7
  • Anthologie de la Poésie Symboliste et Décadente (editor) Les Belles Lettres (France), 2001 ISBN 978-2-251-44365-2
  • J-K Huysmans' Against Nature (editor) Penguin, 2003 ISBN 978-0-14-044763-7
  • S.Mallarmé For Anatole's Tomb (translator) Carcanet, 2003, ISBN 978-1-85754-636-1
  • Marcel Schwob, Oeuvres (editor) Les Belles Lettres (France), 2003 ISBN 978-2-251-44220-4
  • The Canals of Mars Carcanet, 2004, ISBN 1-85754-772-1
  • Lynette Roberts: Collected Poems (editor) Carcanet, 2005, ISBN 1-85754-842-6
  • I canali di Marte edited and translated by Giorgia Sensi, Mobydick, 2006, ISBN 978-88-8178-335-9
  • 19th Century Blues Smith/Doorstop, 2007, ISBN 978-1-902382-88-3
  • Lynette Roberts: Diaries, Letters and Recollections, (editor) Carcanet, 2009, ISBN 978-1-85754-856-3
  • Jilted City Carcanet, 2010, ISBN 978-1-85754-968-3
  • L'età della sedia vuota, (original title Jilted City) ed. and transl. by Giorgia Sensi, Il Ponte del Sale, Rovigo, 2011, ISBN 88-89615-17-6
  • The Last Hundred Days, Seren, 2011, ISBN 978-1-85411-541-6
  • Other People's Countries: A Journey into Memory, Jonathan Cape, 2014 ISBN 978-0-224-09830-4
  • Poetry and Radical Politics in Fin de Siecle France: From Anarchism to Action Francaise, OUP, 2015
  • Throw Me to the Wolves, Jonathan Cape, 2019, ISBN 978-1787331464
  • Real Oxford, Seren Books, 2021.
  • Blood Feather, Jonathan Cape, 2023 (Poems)

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Adrian Tahourdin (24 October 2013). "'The Last Hundred Days'". TLS. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  2. ^ T E Hulme: Selected Writings, Carcanet, 1998
  3. ^ For Anatole's Tomb, Carcanet, 2003
  4. ^ Anthologie de la Poésie Symboliste et Décadente, Les Belles Lettres, France, 2001
  5. ^ "A quite extraordinary affair': the impetuous life and free-ranging work of Lynette Roberts' - Patrick McGuinness, The Times Literary Supplement". Carcanet Press. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
  6. ^ The poem Daytime Drinking is also published in the Poems on the Vaporetto Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine series in Venice, n. 54.
  7. ^ Wales Literature Exchange The Canals of Mars Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ James Purdon, "The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness. Ceausescu's Bucharest falls again in a vivid semi-autobiographical novel" in The Guardian 14 August 2011 [1]
  9. ^ Wales, The Learned Society of. "Patrick McGuinness". The Learned Society of Wales. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  10. ^ Jordan, Justine (26 April 2019). "Throw Me to the Wolves by Patrick McGuinness review – memory and murder". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Ministere
  12. ^ "The Last Hundred Days is Wales Book of the Year in English language". 12 July 2012 – via
  13. ^ "The Encore Award". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 25 June 2021.

External links edit