Philip MacCann

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1963- ;
b. Belfast; took MA in Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury (UAE); critic for The Guardian to 1996; British Council writer-in-residence at the Swedish University, Finland, 1995; Winner of Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, 1995; issued The Miracle Shed (1995), stories; winner of Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize from Spectator for travel writing, 1999; winner of Society of Authors Awards 1996, 2003; regular contributor to the Spectator. DIL

The editor is struck by the stark inadequacy of these biographical notes measured against the soul-shivering intensity of the writing in The Miracle Shed - with its stories of seedy Dublin drug-culture and dharma bums in Africa - a novel that reads in places like an Irish Last Exit to Brooklyn. [BS / 06.12.2012].

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Works
The Miracle Shed (Faber 1995), 175pp. [stories].

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Criticism
Jason Cowley, review of The Miracle Shed in Independent (14 Jan. 1995), [infra]; Nicholas Wroe, review of The Miracle Shed in Times Literary Supplement (27 Jan. 1995), [q.p.]

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Commentary
Jason Cowley
, review of The Miracle Shed in Independent (14 Jan. 1995), [q.p.]; includes stories, “Love Marks”; “Grey Area”; “Harvester”; “Tender”; “Naturally Strange”; called writer with ambition and a sad, sinister style that ought to be widely known.

John Boland, ‘Bookworm’ , Irish Times (16 March 1996), [q.p.], upbraids Philip MacCann for flippant remarks on the current state of Irish writing in ‘Irish Writers Inc.,’ printed in the British Magazine, Prospect [q.d], in which MacCann says that Ireland has advanced artistically in recent years and speaks of Joyce et al. having to get out of a culture ‘rotten with traditionalism’; describes MacGahern’s novels as being ‘spread [with] Irish clichés like symptom of literary disease: a high priest count, farms and bogs, Catholic guilt and psychosexual beatings’; Banville ‘sealed himself in his own Eurobubble against infection from local humbug’; Banville therefore no use for ‘those who wanted to find a style which was fresh but also comfortable with contemporary Ireland’; of Patrick McCabe’s Butcher Boy: it ‘speaks with a suffering innocence unknown in previous Irish fiction’; its author possesses ‘the freshness of an utterly exiled and cosmopolitan mind’; Neil Jordan and Desmond Hogan are accredited with being ‘two of the most advanced stylists of the 1980s and 1990s’; Boland is particularly disdainful of the conclusion: ‘There is tripe and there is some fine fiction. But is it art? … Until there is some grander post-post-modernist world view, probably all writers can do is flash their trash.’

Sundry reviews of The Miracle Shed (1995): ‘beautiful and compulsive narratives … you won’t want to stop for a breath’ (The Observer); ‘His originality dazzles’ (London Independent); ‘his weirdly beautiful style inspires optimism, lifting the spirit as great art does. He’s an immensely talented and original writer’ (Time Out); ‘Really blazes: this is what literature is about’ (The Guardian.) [ Faber blurb.]

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