Patrick McCabe (novelist)

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Patrick McCabe
Born (1955-03-27) 27 March 1955 (age 68)
Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland
Alma materSt Patrick's College, Dublin
Literary movementNeo-delusional
Notable worksThe Butcher Boy,
Breakfast on Pluto,
Notable awardsHughes & Hughes/Irish Independent Irish Novel of the Year
SpouseMargot Quinn
ChildrenKatie, Ellen

Patrick McCabe (born 27 March 1955) is an Irish writer. Known for his mostly dark and violent novels set in contemporary—often small-town—Ireland, McCabe has been twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, for The Butcher Boy (1992) and Breakfast on Pluto (1998), both of which have been made into films.


McCabe was born in Clones, County Monaghan.[1] He resides in Clones with his artist wife Margot Quinn[2] and two daughters, Katie and Ellen.[citation needed] Aged 17 he migrated to London and worked as a teacher, returning to Ireland after finding success as a writer.[2]


McCabe's books include The Butcher Boy (1992) and Breakfast on Pluto (1998), both shortlisted for the Booker Prize.[3] He has written a children's book (The Adventures of Shay Mouse) and several of his radio plays have been broadcast by RTÉ and BBC Radio 4. He wrote a collection of linked short stories, Mondo Desperado, published in 1999. The play Frank Pig Says Hello, which he adapted from The Butcher Boy, was first performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1992.[4]

McCabe's 2001 novel Emerald Germs of Ireland is a black comedy featuring matricide.[5] Winterwood, published in 2006, was 2007 Hughes & Hughes/Irish Independent Irish Novel of the Year. 2009 saw the publication of The Holy City.[6] The Stray Sod Country was described[by whom?] as "Strangely elegiac, gloriously operatic and driven by (...) wild and savage imagination, (...) an eerie folk tale that chronicles the passing of a generation."

Director and novelist Neil Jordan has adapted both The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto into films.[7]

Zelig Theatre premiered the play Appointment in Limbo, written by McCabe, in Galway's Town Hall Theatre in 2008. Cathal Cleary directed.[8]

McCabe and film director Kevin Allen are organisers of the Flatlake Festival, a music festival held annually.[9][10]

List of works[edit]


  1. ^ Kelly, John (20 November 2006). "Pat McCabe". RTÉ: The View Presents. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b Adams, Tim (24 April 2022). "Patrick McCabe: 'Even today you can walk into some Irish bars and be in a different dimension'". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  3. ^ Gorman, Sophie (6 October 2013). "The wild man of Clones who is now attempting to tame the stage". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  4. ^ O'Mahony, John (30 August 2003). "Profile: Patrick McCabe". The Guardian – via
  5. ^ Tayler, Christopher (5 April 2001). "Post-Matricide". London Review of Books. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  6. ^ Tayler, Christopher (3 January 2009). "Troubles in the Mind". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  7. ^ "RTÉ Television - Arts Lives".
  8. ^ McBride, Charlie (14 August 2008). "Zelig Theatre premiere New Pat McCabe play". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  9. ^ Jarvis, Alice-Azania (15 July 2009). "Pandora: Scam gives Campbell cause for complaint". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  10. ^ Rowe, Tom (8 September 2007). "Q and A with novelist Pat McCabe". Magill. Retrieved 16 September 2023.

External links[edit]