Paul Howarth

Posted by Sue Leonard on Tuesday 19th June 2018

Paul wasn’t a bookish child,

“But I was imaginative,” he says. “There was narrative in the games I played; there were always stories.” 

After college, Paul practised law, as a solicitor, for six years.

“Then I wanted a change from the corporate career. I wanted to work at something more creative.”

Taking a career break, he moved to Melbourne in Australia at 29, and decided to write a novel. He did so, eventually completing another two. One found an agent. After six years in the country Paul and his wife gained dual-citizenship.

Shortly afterwards he applied for the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, submitting a long story – the genesis for his debut. He was accepted, and offered The Malcolm Bradbury Scholarship, so the family returned to the UK.

“I spent the year at UEA finding my voice, and a way to write Only Killers and Thieves. After I finished, in 2015, I sat down and wrote it.”


Who is Paul Howarth

Date of birth: 1978, in Sunderland, England.

Education: Barnard Castle School. University of Nottingham; Law. University of East Anglia; MA in Creative Writing.

Home: Norwich, England.

Family: Wife Sarah, two daughters aged 6, and 8 months.

The Day Job: Fulltime writer.

In Another Life: “I’d be a travel writer, or a professional sportsman.”

Favourite Writers: Cormac McCarthy; Kazuo Ishiguro; Richard Flanagan; Margaret Atwood; Thomas Harris.

Second Novel: “I’m working on a sequel. It’s in the early stages.”

Top Tip: “Don’t follow trends. Write for yourself first and write a book you would love to read.”

Twitter: @paulhowarth_


The Debut: Only Killers and Thieves. One. An imprint of Pushkin Press: €19.33. Kindle: €15.16. 

It’s Queensland in 1885, and brothers Tommy and Billy McBride return home to find their parents murdered. Helpless, in the wilderness, they turn to a landowner for help, but come into conflict with the Queensland Native Police. The retribution devastates Tommy, and leaves a lasting mark on the colony, and the country it becomes.

“I’d become fascinated with the landscape and history of Australia. It was a British Colony, and I was coming to the story from both the British and Australian perspective.” 

The Verdict: Hugely impressive, if devastating. Reminiscent of Peter Carey.


Published on 9th June in the Irish Examiner.

© Sue Leonard. 2018

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