Bernie McGill biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Bernie McGill
Photo: Peter Nash

Bernie McGill

Bernie McGill Biography

Bernie McGill was born in Lavey in County Derry in Northern Ireland. She studied English and Italian at Queen's University, Belfast and graduated with a Masters degree in Irish Writing. She has written for the theatre (The Weather Watchers, The Haunting of Helena Blunden). She is also the author of a novel, The Butterfly Cabinet and a short story collection, Sleepwalkers. Her new novel will be published in 2017. Her short fiction has been nominated for numerous awards and in 2008 she won the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Award in the US. She is a recipient of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's inaugural ACES (Artists' Career Enhancement Scheme) Award in association with the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University, Belfast. She lives in Portstewart in Northern Ireland with her family and works as a Creative Writing facilitator. She offers One-to-One Mentoring via the Irish Writers' Centre.

Bernie McGill's website

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Interview

Bernie McGill talks about her widely-praised debut novel, The Butterfly Cabinet, and answers some revealing "quick questions" about herself.

You've written plays as well as short stories and novels. How has your experience with playwriting (and with watching your plays unfold in front of you) affected your fiction writing?
Writing for the theatre, in my experience at least, is a much more collaborative process than writing fiction. During the making of a theatre piece, there are a number of voices in the room, there's more input from other creative people, all of whom have an investment in the final made thing. When it comes to writing fiction it makes you very aware that the choices you make are your own. I always read my fiction aloud, I need to hear what's being said to gauge its authenticity. I think theatre writing makes you a more spare fiction writer; it makes you aware of how much you can show and how little you need to tell. It makes you realize how redundant most adjectives are and how important nouns and verbs are, the real nuts and bolts of writing. And I think it helps you to focus on what happens. You need to treat your potential reader with the same respect you'd grant an audience member, ask yourself, "Would an audience sit through this?" If the answer's no, then you know what to do. Get the scissors out and start cutting.

You write on your website about...

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Books by this Author

Books by Bernie McGill at BookBrowse
The Butterfly Cabinet jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Bernie McGill but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • A.S. Byatt

    A.S. Byatt

    Dame Antonia Susan Byatt (b. 1936) was born and grew up in Yorkshire, England. She attended Newnham College, Cambridge; Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania; and Somerville College, Oxford, where she studied as a postgraduate.... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Butterfly Cabinet

    Try:
    The Children's Book
    by A.S. Byatt

  • Tracy Chevalier

    Tracy Chevalier

    Tracy Chevalier was born in Washington, DC but has lived in England all her adult life. She now has dual citizenship. She has a BA in English from Oberlin College, Ohio and an MA in creative writing from the University of ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Butterfly Cabinet

    Try:
    Remarkable Creatures
    by Tracy Chevalier

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Book Discussion
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