The Good Son, Paul’s debut novel, won The Polari First Novel Prize and The McCrea Literary Award. It was shortlisted for The Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, the Prix du Roman Cezam in France and was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize. The Good Son was chosen as Brighton’s City Reads 2016 and was given out as part of World Book Night 2017. Paul has written comedy, essays, flash fiction, a novel, plays and short stories, and his work has been performed on radio, stage and television, and published in seven languages.
Born in Belfast, Paul began his career as a playwright before moving to London where he wrote comedy shows, which were performed at the Edinburgh Festival and in London’s West End. Moving into prose, his short stories have been published in anthologies, newspapers and literary journals and read on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5. ‘Hollow’ was shortlisted for Irish Short Story of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2017. His stories have been televised on Sky Arts, recorded for 14-18 NOW and published in ‘Common People’ edited by Kit de Waal and ‘Being Various’ best of Irish fiction for Faber. He edited the anthologies ‘Belfast Stories’ and ‘Queer Love’ and ‘The 32’ which is the Irish versions of Common People.
Paul has taught creative writing and read his work, in Australia, Austria, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland and Turkey. In the UK he’s taught at the Barbican Centre, British Library, Hampsted Theatre, Tricycle Theatre, Waterstones Piccadilly and at universities in Brighton, London, Swansea and Wolverhampton. He judges international literary prizes including the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Prize, the International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Royal Society of Literature’s V. S. Pritchard Award. He reviews for the TLS and The Irish Times. He has interviewed authors in print and on stage including five Booker Prize-winners.
Paul co-founded the London Short Story Festival, of which, he was Director and Curator for 2014 & ’15. He is associate director at Word Factory, ‘the UK’s national organisation for excellence in the short story’ The Guardian. Paul’s blog for writers which posts on submission opportunities for journals and competitions gets 40,000 hits a month and has had over a 2 1/2 million visitors.
He is currently acting Head of Literature for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
He now lives back home in Belfast.
Winner of The Polari First Novel Prize
‘A triumph of storytelling. An absolute gem.’ Donal Ryan
‘Raw, funny and endlessly entertaining’. Jonathan Coe