After teaching in Ireland, McGinley moved to England where he pursued a career as a publisher and author. Among his strongest literary influences is his Irish predecessor, author Flann O'Brien, who McGinley emulates most noticeably in his novel The Devil's Diary.
McGinley's novels include:
- Bogmail (1978)
- Foxprints (1982)
- Goosefoot (1983)
- Foggage (1983)
- The Trick of the Ga Bolga (1986)
- The Red Men (1987)
- The Devil's Diary (1988)
- The Lost Soldier's Song (1994)
- Shea, Thomas F. "Patrick McGinley's Impressions of Flann O'Brien: The Devil's Diary and At Swim-Two-Birds." Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Summer, 1994), pp. 272-281.