Gavin McCrea biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Gavin McCrea
Photo: Eugene Langan

Gavin McCrea

Gavin McCrea Biography

Gavin McCrea was born in Dublin in 1978 and has since travelled widely, living in Japan, Belgium and Italy, among other places. He holds a BA and an MA from University College Dublin, and an MA and a PhD from the University of East Anglia. He currently divides his time between the UK and Spain.

Gavin McCrea's website

This bio was last updated on 10/08/2015. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Interview

Gavin McCrea discusses Mrs. Engels, and how he created a book from the perspective of a woman who left no historic record.

How did you stumble across the life of Lizzie Burns?
What compelled you to write Mrs. Engels from the perspective of a working-class, illiterate Irishwoman who left no historical record?
I came across Lizzie Burns by chance. I saw her name in a newspaper review of Tristram Hunt's biography of Frederick Engels, and I was intrigued. I had no idea that Engels had had a relationship with an poor Irishwoman. I began to search for information about Lizzie, but I couldn't find much. Because she was illiterate and left no diaries or letters of her own, Lizzie remains a ghost in the record. Lizzie is mentioned in the Marx-Engels correspondence but has no real historical "weight" of her own. When I discovered that Engels had also had a relationship with her older sister, Mary, I knew I had to write the story.

I also knew that I would have to write it in first-person, from Lizzie's perspective. As a writer, I am interested in the creation of the illusion of "mind," and I wanted to give Lizzie a "mind" that appears larger, more forceful, more fully realized than those of the now-famous personages who surrounded her. I liked the idea of turning a slight historical figure into a massive fictional character.

You'...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Gavin McCrea at BookBrowse
Mrs. Engels jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Gavin McCrea 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

  • Jonathan Lethem

    Jonathan Lethem

    Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. He currently teaches creative writing at ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Mrs. Engels

    Try:
    Dissident Gardens
    by Jonathan Lethem

  • Paula McLain

    Paula McLain

    Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Mrs. Engels

    Try:
    The Paris Wife
    by Paula McLain

We recommend 5 similar authors

View all 5 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Poet's House
    The Poet's House
    by Jean Thompson
    Seasoned author Jean Thompson's previous novels include A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl, The Humanity...
  • Book Jacket
    Some of It Was Real
    by Nan Fischer
    Nan Fischer is an Oregon Book Award finalist for her previous novels When Elephants Fly and The ...
  • Book Jacket: The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    by Shashi Bhat
    Think of all the worst parts of puberty — all the moments you partially miss or brood about ...
  • Book Jacket
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
All the Lonely People
by Mike Gayle
A cozy novel for fans of A Man Called Ove. A widowed retiree will rediscover the world he’s turned his back on.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dirt Creek
    by Hayley Scrivenor

    "A heart-wrenching mystery, Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Creek to life. A stellar debut."
    —Jane Harper,

  • Book Jacket

    Widowland
    by C. J. Carey

    A thrilling feminist dystopian novel set in an alternate 1950s Britain under the control of the Third Reich.

Who Said...

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wishes W H B W R

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.