Patrick Anthony McGinley was born on February 8, 1937, in Glencolumcille, County Donegal, Ireland, to Peter McGinley and Mary Anne Heekin McGinley. One of five children, McGinley was educated at Cashel National School in Glencolumcille and at St. Edna’s College in Galway. From 1954 to 1957, he studied literature at University College, Galway, and developed a particular interest in Middle English poetry.
After receiving the bachelor of arts in 1957, McGinley spent four years teaching in secondary school before emigrating to London in 1962. There he worked as an assistant publisher, except for a year in the mid-1960’s, during which he lived in Sydney, Australia. In 1981, McGinley began serving as managing editor of Europa Publications Limited, publishers of academic and reference books.
Although his books received such popular success, little is known about Patrick Anthony McGinley’s life; indeed, at a time when Irish fiction is receiving an increasing amount of academic attention, this author could be called the most anonymous Irish novelist of his generation. McGinley was born to a farming family in a comparatively remote area of county Donegal, Ireland’s farthest northwest county. He was educated locally and at University College, Galway, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in commerce in 1957. For five years after his graduation he taught secondary school in Ireland before emigrating to England and entering the publishing profession. Apart from a year in Australia (1965-1966), he remained in publishing and became managing director of Europa Publications in 1980. McGinley married Kathleen Frances Cuddy in 1967 and had one son, Myles Peter. His family made its home in Kent, outside London.
Patrick McGinley, the eldest of five children, was born to Mary Anne Gihley and Peter McGinley, a hill farmer and fisherman. McGinley was educated from 1941 to 1950 at the Cashel National School in Glencolmcille and later matriculated at St. Enda’s College, Galway, for his secondary education. In 1954 he entered Galway University, where he studied English literature and commerce. Under the influence of one of his professors, Jeremiah Murphy, McGinley developed a love of Middle English poetry and a general appreciation for the mechanics of fiction, which later influenced his own novels. During this period he also read widely outside his courses in European and American literature, pursuing special interests in Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad.
After graduation in 1957 McGinley spent four years as a secondary teacher in Gweedore, Dublin, and Mullingar. Eventually restless with the stagnation of Irish life, he left for London in 1962 and became an assistant editor for World Book Encyclopedia. In 1965 he was transferred to offices in Sydney, Australia, where he began work on an autobiographical novel.
In 1967, after returning from his year in Australia, he married Kathleen Cuddy, also from Ireland, and in 1970 their son Myles was born. During the 1970’s McGinley rewrote his first novel and completed a second; neither was published. He began work on a third simply to please himself; the result was the well-received Bogmail, a mystery involving a pubkeeper, set in contemporary County Donegal. His next novel, Goosefoot, is set alternately in the Irish Midlands and Dublin and combines the conventions of the Bildungsroman with a mystery formula. Foggage is set in County Laois in the Irish Midlands and explores the theme of incest among rural figures. Foxprints, set in the London suburbs and featuring, among other things, the clash in cultural sensibilities of an Englishman, a Scot, a Welshman, and an Irishman, revolves around a series of murders that involve a web of intricate vulpine clues and allusions. With The Trick of the Ga Bolga, McGinley returns once more to the rural life of County Donegal, and though they are deemphasized, mystery elements continue to operate in his fiction. His next two novels, The Red Men and The Devil’s...