Paula McGrath

Posted by Sue Leonard on Thursday 20th August 2015

A lifelong lover of English, Paula left Dublin after college planning to travel the world. She got as far as Los Angeles, and stayed there for three years trying to become a writer.

“But I couldn’t find a way in,” she says. “I think I just wasn’t ready.”

Then it was back to Dublin and a Masters on Edna O’Brien; and after that she began to teach yoga. Writing unpublished novels since her second child was born, Paula has recently had short stories published in various literary magazines and anthologies.

The genesis for her debut came during her MFA.

“I had written the first two linked stories and decided to write a collection for my thesis.” Then one story got longer and longer, and, studying form, she realised it had crossed the line, and become a novel. “I started in the middle and wrote in both directions.”

 Who is Paula McGrath

Date of birth: In her forties, born in County Kildare.

Education: Boarding school in Mountrath. Trinity College Dublin; English. University College Dublin; Masters in English, then MFA Creative Writing.

Home:  Clontarf, Dublin.

Family: Husband, Tim. Children Alex, 17, Georgia, 13. Six year old twins, Michael and Raphael.

The Day Job:  Fulltime writer and mother.

Interests:  Yoga.

Favourite Writers:  Edna O’Brien; James Joyce;  Éilís Ní Dhuibhne; Amy Tan; Anne Tyler; Margaret Atwood; Claire Louise Bennett.

Second Novel:  “I’m halfway through something. At the moments it’s in the form of three novellas.”

Top Writing Tip:  Perseverance. “The rejections feel terrible, but if you are a writer, you will do it anyway.”

Web:  Twitter: @viewreview1

The Debut: Generation. JM Originals: €14.99   Kindle: €6.86 

Joe owns an organic farm in Chicago. Vicky is a teacher, who once knew Joe. Kane is her pupil, and is taught piano by Joe’s mother. These characters, along with multifarious others populate these overlapping stories, set across generations and continents; but central to it all, is Aine, a divorcee from Ireland, and her small daughter Daisy, who spend time at Joe’s farm.

“The stories are separate yet linked together. Time and relationships are linked yet apart. If you read between the lines you can see the full picture.”

The Verdict: An ambitious debut exploring the effect one generation has on the next.


Published in the Irish Examiner, 15th September, 2015

© Sue Leonard. 2015

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