Patrick McGrath (novelist)

For other people named Patrick McGrath, see Patrick McGrath (disambiguation).
Patrick McGrath

Patrick McGrath at the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival
Born (1950-02-07) 7 February 1950
London, England
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British
Genre gothic fiction

Patrick McGrath (born 7 February 1950) is a British novelist, whose work has been categorized as gothic fiction.

Early life

McGrath was born in London and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital from the age of five[1] where his father was Medical Superintendent.[2] He was educated at a Jesuit boarding school in Windsor from the age of thirteen, before moving to another Jesuit public school, Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, upon the closure[1] of his first school. In 1967,[3] at the age of sixteen, he ran away from this institution to London.[1] He graduated from the Birmingham College of Commerce with an honours degree in English and American literature in 1971,[3] awarded externally by the University of London, before his father found him a job later that year in Penetang, Ontario working in the Oakridge top-security unit of the Penetang Mental Health Centre.[3]

He has lived in various parts of North America and also spent several years on a remote island in the North Pacific, before finally settling in New York City in 1981.[4]

McGrath also worked as a teacher of creative writing to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall semester of 2006.[3] He also taught craft courses for a number of years in the MFA program at Hunter College, New York, and since 2007, has taught an MFA program at the New School in New York.[3]


His fiction is principally characterised by the first person unreliable narrator, and recurring subject matter in his work includes mental illness, repressed homosexuality and adulterous relationships.[5]

His novel Martha Peake won the Premio Flaiano Prize in Italy[6] and Asylum was shortlisted for the 1996 Guardian Fiction Prize.[4]

He is also currently on the writing faculties of both the New School in New York and Princeton University.[3]

Personal life

He is married to actress Maria Aitken and divides his time between London and New York City.[7] He has three siblings, of which he is the eldest:[1] Steve, a harbour manager in California; Judy, a teacher in Italy; and Simon, who works in movies and technology in London.


Three of McGrath's novels and one of his stories have been adapted into films, two of which adaptations (Spider, 2002 and The Grotesque, 1995) were written by McGrath himself.[3] The film adaptation for Asylum, 2005 was written by Patrick Marber and a short film made of The Lost Explorer from Blood and Water and Other Tales was adapted by Tim Walker.[3]

Other works

McGrath has also co-edited and wrote the introduction to a highly influential anthology of short fiction, The New Gothic.[3]

He has published many reviews and essays, including introductions to Barnaby Rudge, Moby Dick, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and In a Glass Darkly.[3]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Mackenzie, Suzie (2005-09-02). "In pursuit of sublime terror". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  2. Foreword to Penguin edition of Asylum publ 1996
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Oratofsky, Paul. "Patrick McGrath Novels". Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  4. 1 2 "McGrath, Patrick - ROGERS, COLERIDGE & WHITE". ROGERS, COLERIDGE & WHITE. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  5. "Patrick McGrath |". Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  6. Phillips, Jayne Anne; McGrath, Patrick (2008-11-01). "The state of America after Bush, part 2". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  7. Rennison, Nick (2005). Contemporary British Novelists. Oxfordshire: Routledge. p. 91. ISBN 0-203-64468-9 via Google Books.

External links

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