Brian McGilloway

Life
Derry-born crime writer; teaches English at St. Columb’s, Derry; has issued novels, all featuring his detective character Ben Devlin, a detective and family man stationed at Lifford; beginning with Borderlands (2007), debut set on the Tyrone-Donegal border; Gallows Lane (2008), his second, nominated for Irish Book Awards Crime Fiction prize, 2009; followed by Bleed a River Deep (2009),set in Donegal goldmine at time of arrival of American diplomat; m. Tanya, with three boys.

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Commentary
Anon., Culture Northern Ireland, feature on McGilloway - quotes: ‘I wanted something different. Instead of the hard drinking, maverick, divorcee stereotype I wanted someone that was relatively well-adjusted, relatively normal.’ Bleed A River Deep [is] named after an Ed Harcourt track; opens in a newly-opened Donegal gold mine on the eve of the arrival of a controversial US diplomat; big business and the new Europe; migrant-smuggling ring operating from Strabane and conditions of its victims; reflects experience of Oksana Sukhanova, the Ukranian woman who lost both legs to frost-bite sleeping rough in Coleraine. Quotes: ‘That person travelled halfway across the world in the hope of a better quality of life and look what happened,’ McGilloway comments. ‘I thought it was a sad reflection of the state of our society.’ Devlin mirrors the author’s robust social conscience - in Bleed A River Deep the inspector invites into his home a Chechen woman forced into prostitution in the north after her husband is shot dead during a botched robbery in Lifford. Quotes: ‘I didn’t want Borderlands to be another Troubles book. That’s not been my intention with any of them,’ Instead of masked men and politics McGilloway gives his readers a fascinating insight into life on both sides of a changing and increasingly porous border. Devlin finds it difficult to separate north and south, often treading on the toes of his PSNI counterpart Jim Hendry. Quotes: ‘Originally Devlin was going to be a PSNI man[,] but at the time I was writing Borderlands things were changing so much. The old RUC were being disbanded, but Sinn Fein were refusing to join the Policing Board. So I thought by the time I’d finished the book everything could have changed, and I’d end up with a novel that was anachronistic before it was even published.’ Fourth of five contracted Devlin books to appeasr 2010; McGilloway commensing a stand alone book in whcih the the main character is a PSNI officer. Quotes: ‘I’m still not looking to write from a political angle.’ (See Culture NorthernIreland.org - online; 24.04.2013.)

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