Frank McGuinness

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Frank McGuinness
Born (1953-07-29) 29 July 1953 (age 60)
Buncrana, County Donegal, Ireland
Occupation Playwright, poet, translator
Nationality Irish
Genres Drama, Poetry
Notable work(s) The Factory Girls,
Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme,
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me,
Dolly West's Kitchen

Professor Frank McGuinness[1][2] (born 29 July 1953) is an Irish playwright and poet. As well as his own works, which include The Factory Girls, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me and Dolly West's Kitchen, he is recognised for a "strong record of adapting literary classics, having translated the plays of Racine, Sophocles, Ibsen and Strindberg to critical acclaim".[3] Prof. McGuinness has been Professor of Creative Writing at University College Dublin (UCD) since 2007.[1]


McGuinness was born in Buncrana, a town located on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal, Ireland. He was educated locally and at University College Dublin, where he studied Pure English and medieval studies to postgraduate level.[citation needed]

He first came to prominence with his play The Factory Girls, but established his reputation with his play about World War I, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, which was staged in Dublin's Abbey Theatre and internationally. The play made a name for him when it was performed at Hampstead Theatre, drawing comments about McGuinness's Irish Catholic background.[4] It won numerous awards including the London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright for McGuinness. He has also written new versions of classic dramas, including works by Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, and Euripides, adapting the literal translations of others.[5] In addition, he wrote the screenplay for the film Dancing at Lughnasa, adapting the stage play by fellow Irishman (and, indeed, fellow Ulsterman) Brian Friel.

McGuinness's first poetry anthology, Booterstown, was published in 1994. Several of his poems have been recorded by Marianne Faithfull, including Electra, After the Ceasefire and The Wedding.

McGuinness previously lectured in Linguistics and Drama at the University of Ulster, Medieval Studies at University College, Dublin and English at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Then he was a writer-in-residence lecturing at University College Dublin before being appointed Professor of Creative Writing in the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin.[1]

List of works[edit]


Selected adaptations[edit]




  • Arimathea (Brandon, 2013)


  1. ^ a b c "McGuinness named Professor of Creative Writing at UCD". UCD. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  2. ^ "Bloomsday Centenary Public Lecture Series". UCD. Retrieved on 3 June 2004.
  3. ^ a b "Passion, betrayal and hypocrisy in new version of Ibsen's 'Ghosts' at Town Hall". Galway City Tribune. Retrieved on 13 May 2011.
  4. ^ Maxwell, Dominic. "Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme at Hampstead Theatre, NW3". The Times. Retrieved on 25 June 2009.
  5. ^ Higgins, Charlotte. "Frank McGuinness: 'I'm not entirely respectable. I couldn't be'". The Guardian. Retrieved on 18 October 2008.
  6. ^ Marlowe, Sam. "Yerma". The Times. Retrieved on 30 August 2006. "The play, in Frank McGuinness's sinewy translation, sets the sacred against the profane, sensuality against repression and duty against instinct".
  7. ^ McBride, Charlie. "‘Stunning reworking’ of Ibsen’s Ghosts for Town Hall". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved on 5 May 2011.

External links[edit]

Additional reading[edit]

  • Eamonn Jordan The feast of famine: the plays of Frank McGuinness (Bern: Peter Lang, 1997) ISBN 3-906757-71-4
  • Helen Lojek (ed.) The theatre of Frank McGuinness: stages of mutability (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2002) ISBN 1-904505-01-5
  • Hiroko Mikami, Frank McGuinness and his Theatre of Paradox (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 2002)
  • Kenneth Nally, Celebrating Confusion: The Theatre of Frank McGuinness (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) ISBN 1-4438-0335-9