Darkly moving and beautifully written, Bernie McGill’s debut collection of short stories explores the lives of women across the generations. From the storm-battered coastline of the north of Ireland to the sleeping villas of Andalusia, McGill’s characters grapple with the consequences of affairs, bereavement, alcoholism, illness and murder.
Compassionate and quietly powerful, McGill’s stories capture intimate moments of loss, love and healing in a troubled age.
‘McGill’s plotting is masterful. These are “killer-blow” stories but [she] carefully guards against sensationalism. Her talent for combining keen observation with a kind of symbolic import is evident. Everything is very precisely described, and yet, more unusually, there is a lyric quality to the description. McGill herself brings not only an awareness of literature, but a poetic sensibility to how she layers her short stories as a poet would layer an image – conscious that meaning is ambiguous, contradictory, polyvalent.’ Dr Tess Magennis, Queen’s University, Belfast
‘Bernie McGill has a seductive way of easing the reader in and out of a story, without the need for killer opening sentences or twist endings. Hers is the voice of an authentic storyteller who guides the reader through her fictional world with authority… I rarely read the first story in a book and immediately re-read it, nor do I finish a short story collection and turn straight back to the beginning. In the case of Bernie McGill’s Sleepwalkers, I did both.’ Safia Moore in The Incubator Journal (p.67)
‘Bursting with emotional life, whether the dark swirl of grief to the most potent sensuality… McGill’s careful control over her stories ensure the reader is carried along… her writing is all the more powerful for showing how the worst and best of life can co-exist in her short, sharp stories.’ Dr Caroline Magennis in The Irish Times
‘A writer to watch out for’ Sunday Tribune
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The Glass Shore
The Cure for Too Much Feeling
(1 October 2016)
‘The Cure for Too Much Feeling’ is anthologised in The Glass Shore, an anthology of short stories by women writers from the nine counties of Ulster, spanning three centuries. It is edited by Sinéad Gleeson and published by New Island Books, Dublin, in 2016.
Winner of Best Irish Published Book of the Year at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2016.
The Long Gaze Back
(1 September 2015)
‘A Fuss’ is anthologised in The Long Gaze Back, an anthology of short stories by Irish women writers spanning four centuries. It is edited by Sinéad Gleeson and published by New Island Books, Dublin, in 2015.
Winner of Best Irish Published Book of the Year at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2015.
The Best British Short Stories
(10 April 2011)
‘No Angel’ is included in Sleepwalkers & Other Stories, is anthologised in The Best British Short Stories 2011, published April 2011 by Salt Publishing and edited by Nicholas Royle. It won second place in both the Michael McLaverty and the Seán O’Faóláin Short Story Competitions 2010, and is also published in Scandal and Other Stories (Linen Hall Library, Belfast, 2010) and in Pigs’ Feet, White Socks & Hoovers (Southword Editions, Cork, 2013).
The Winners of the Bridport Prize
(1 September 2010)
‘Home’ is included in Sleepwalkers & Other Stories. It was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and published in The Winners of the Bridport Prize 2010.
(1 December 2009)
Published in Brand magazine Winter/Spring 2009.
(1 Dec 2008)
‘Sleepwalkers’ is included in Sleepwalkers & Other Stories. It was first Prizewinner in the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest (US) December 2008.
First Tooth & Service Interrupted
(10 April 2006)
‘First Tooth’ is included in Sleepwalkers & Other Stories. It was originally published, along with ‘Service Interrupted’ in My Story, Blackstaff Press/BBC Radio Ulster, Belfast, April 2006, edited by Pauline Currie.
The Barefoot Nuns of Barcelona
Epistle & A Still Life
(21 November 2005)
Published in The Barefoot Nuns of Barcelona & Other Short Stories, a collection of stories from the Orange Northern Woman Short Story Prize, Greer Publications, Belfast, 2005.