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Success story Brian McGilloway


Success story: Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway’s Borderlands has just been published in America. For the veteran of eighteen months of submissions and 20 rejections, this must have been a great moment.

McGilloway was one of the lucky authors to benefit from the Macmillan New Writing programme, run by Pan MacmillanOne of largest fiction and non-fiction book publishers in UK; includes imprints of Pan, Picador and Macmillan Children’s Books in the UK. They published his first book, Borderlands, and his second, Gallows Lane, came out in the UK in April. The author has now been signed to a three-book contract with the main Macmillan imprint. Will Atkins, editor of Macmillan New Writing, says that: ‘Our aim is to discover new writers who will eventually find a long-term home with Pan Macmillan’s "mainstream" imprints.’

For Brian McGilloway it had been a long road to success. Instantly converted to crime writing when, still a student, he picked up Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue in a crime bookshop in Belfast, McGilloway started writing what was to become Borderlands. When he had finished writing the novel he sent it out to publishers, observing James Lee Burke’s 72-hour rule, which says that when a publisher rejects and returns a manuscript, to make sure that you send it out again within 72 hours.

‘I wanted Devlin (his hero) to reflect some of my own concerns – that he would have a young family, that he would be trying to juggle job and family and everything else. I suppose the book is about Devlin trying to fulfil all his roles.’

Now that he’s signed to Macmillan and has a London agent, McGilloway should be able to relax, but he says he’s now under a different kind of pressure: ‘I had nearly finished Gallows Lane by the time I signed with MNW, so the first two books were written for myself. I found it strange writing with a readership in mind. It’s good and bad; it sharpens you in terms of focus and not repeating; but at the same time, it’s taking away from writing the book that I want to read. I’m now writing the book that I want to read but I think other people will want to read as well.’

Brian McGilloway’s site

Our article on Macmillan New Writing

Macmillan New Writing