Paul Magrs

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Paul Magrs
Born (1969-11-12) 12 November 1969 (age 46)
Jarrow, [County Durham], England
Occupation writer, lecturer
Nationality English
Alma mater Lancaster University
Period 1990s–present
Genre magic realism, science fiction, horror, mystery, young adult, Queer fiction
Notable works Marked for Life, Modern Love, Strange Boy, Exchange,
Doctor Who novels and audio plays, Iris Wildthyme,
The Adventures of Brenda and Effie
Partner Jeremy Hoad

Paul Magrs (pronounced "Mars"; born 12 November 1969) is a writer and lecturer.[1][2] He was born in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, England, and now lives in Manchester with his partner, author and lecturer Jeremy Hoad.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Magrs was born in Jarrow, Co. Durham, on 12 November 1969.[1][2] In 1975 he moved with his family to Newton Aycliffe, County Durham; his parents divorced shortly after the move.[4][5] At the age of 17, Magrs was queer-bashed, and his father was the police officer who took the report on the incident; it was the last time Paul Magrs saw his father.[6]

In Newton Aycliffe, Magrs attended Woodham Comprehensive School, where Mark Gatiss was two years ahead of him and in the same drama group.[7] Magrs went on to Lancaster University, where he received a first class BA in English (1991), an MA in Creative Writing (1991) and a PhD in English (1995).[4][8] His doctoral thesis was on Angela Carter, who was regarded as a Queer writer.[4][8]

Literary career[edit]

Magrs is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction works. His first published writing was the short story "Patient Iris", published 1995 in New Writing Four (edited by A. S. Byatt and Alan Hollinghurst).[4][8] This was soon followed by his debut novel, Marked for Life, the same year.[8] Magrs' first three novels, Marked for Life, Does It Show? (1997) and Could It Be Magic? (1998), share characters, a magical realist tone and a setting: the fictional Phoenix Court council estate in Newton Aycliffe.[9][10][11]

Magrs' first children's book, Strange Boy (2002), prompted controversy due to homosexual content involving its 10-year-old protagonist and a 14-year-old neighbour.[5][6][12][13] Representatives of the NASUWT teachers' union and the conservative Christian Institute argued that the book should not be stocked in school libraries, and some newspapers suggested that doing so in England would be illegal due to the Section 28 ban on "promoting homosexuality" in schools.[12][14][15][16][17] However, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals supported libraries' purchase of Strange Boy, as did representatives of Stonewall and other gay rights organizations.[12][13][17] Magrs noted that the book was "about 95% autobiographical" and described the controversy as "ludicrous".[18]

Magrs' other novels include Aisles (2003) and To the Devil – a Diva! (2004); he has also published several short stories. His novel Exchange was shortlisted for the 2006 Booktrust Teenage Prize[19] and was longlisted for the 2007 Carnegie Medal.[20]

Magrs has written several novels, short stories and audio dramas relating to Doctor Who, many of which also feature his character Iris Wildthyme.[21][22] Iris is generally portrayed as an eccentric and unreliable Time Lady, whose TARDIS takes the form of a London Routemaster double-decker bus (the No. 22 to Putney Common).[22] Iris Wildthyme was originally created for Magrs' unpublished first novel, which was named after her; another version of Iris also appears in Marked for Life.[8][23] The character features in all of Magrs' four contributions to BBC Books' Eighth Doctor Adventures, in several Big Finish Productions audio dramas by Magrs and other writers, in a novel series from Snowbooks[24] and in short story and novella collections published by Big Finish and Obverse Books.[22] Magrs has also written licensed Doctor Who fiction without Wildthyme, including the 2007 novel, Sick Building, (which made the shortlist for the Doncaster Book Award)[25] and the audio series, Hornets' Nest, which marked the first time Tom Baker had returned to play the Doctor in a full-length drama since he left the role in 1981.[26] After the success of Hornets' Nest, Magrs wrote two sequel series Demon Quest (2010) and Serpent Crest (2011).

Magrs' current ongoing novel series is The Adventures of Brenda and Effie, starring Brenda, the Bride of Frankenstein, who has now retired and runs a B&B in Whitby.[27][28] She and her friend Effie, a local white witch, investigate spooky goings-on in the town.[27] As of January 2013, there have been six books in the series, the latest being Brenda and Effie Forever from Snowbooks. The fourth book, Hell's Belles, features characters from Magrs' early Phoenix Court books, while the fifth features characters from Magrs' Doctor Who audio, The Boy That Time Forgot.

A stand-alone novel, 666 Charing Cross Road (ISBN 978-0755359486), was published in October 2011. His young adult novel, The Ninnies was listed by the Irish Times as one of the children's books of the year in 2012.[29]


In 2015, Magrs began producing drawings and watercolours every day. There followed exhibitions in Levenshulme and elsewhere in Manchester, as well as a series of prints which Magrs made available to buy. In August 2015, Magrs announced on his Facebook page that he was working on a series of large paintings based on the Stations of the Cross, with the person of Christ being replaced by a current Premier League manager in each work. Following the sacking of Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood, Magrs posted a video on his blog of him ceremonially burning the painting featuring Sherwood, which happened to be based on 'Jesus Falls for a Second Time'.[30]

In October 2015, Magrs began drawing a cartoon series featuring a fictionalised version of himself engaging in conversation with his cat, Bernard Socks. Described by Magrs as being "Like Garfield minus all the Oedipal overtones,"[31] the series offers a sideways look at the life of a writer and his feline chum.

In November 2015, Magrs announced via Facebook his plan to create an animated series whose focus would be the fictionalised adventures of the members of rap group 2 Live Crew. Set in the 1980s, at the height of the group's pomp, and drawn in Magrs' inimitable style (which he describes on his blog as "Replete with the corrosive esemplasticity of late period Velazquez, suffused with Carravagio's chiaroscuro (though with deeper shadows, blacks blacker than your HD television, whites as white as Donald Trump's teeth); a quality of line and a richness and rotundity of objects reminiscent of Cezanne at his most piquant"[32]), the series will show the Crew as they live, laugh and love against the backdrop of a Miami, rendered baroque, grotesque even, by Magrs' effervescent pen. In a further update, Magrs explained that the Crew would be joined in their whimsical frolics by two supernatural cats, based on pets that Magrs has owned: Fester the Cat, whose intimidating physical size and logorrheic speech patterns often land the Crew in trouble, and Bernard Socks, a diminutive, weasel-like feline whose principal attribute is his consistent ability to successfully beg for change.

Academic work[edit]

Magrs is a full-time writer, having formerly been a senior lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and having previously taught at the University of East Anglia.[3][4][33] With Julia Bell, Magrs edited several issues of the University of East Anglia's literary journal Pretext and The Creative Writing Coursebook (2001).[8][34][35][36]



  • Marked for Life (1995)
  • Does it Show? (1997)
  • Could It be Magic? (1998)
  • Modern Love (2000)
  • All the Rage (2001)
  • Strange Boy (2002)
  • Hands Up! (American title, The Good, the Bat and the Ugly) (2003)
  • Aisles (2003)
  • To the Devil – A Diva! (2004)
  • Exchange (2006)
  • Twin Freaks (2007)
  • The Diary of a Dr Who Addict (2010)
  • Enter Wildthyme (2011)
  • 666 Charing Cross Road (2011)
  • Wildthyme Beyond (2012)
  • The Ninnies (2012)
  • The Story of Fester the Cat (2014)
  • Lost on Mars (2015)

The Adventures of Brenda and Effie[edit]

Main article: Adventures of Brenda and Effie

  • Never the Bride (2006)
  • Something Borrowed (2007)
  • Conjugal Rites (2008)
  • Hell's Belles (2009)
  • The Bride That Time Forgot (2010)
  • Brenda And Effie Forever (2012)

Short story collections[edit]

Other works[edit]

  • "Never the Bride" (1998 BBC Radio 4; expanded version 2008, BBC7)
  • "Life After Mars" (2002 BBC Radio 4) part of the Fictional Familiars series.
  • "Sunseeker" (2005 BBC Radio 4)
  • "The Foster Parents" (2007, in Comma Press' short story collection Phobic)
  • "The Longsight Branch" (2 July 2008 BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Reading)
  • "The Dreadful Flap" (2009, in Obverse Books' short story collection Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus)
  • "The Delightful Bag" (2009, in Obverse Books' short story collection The Panda Book of Horror)
  • "Facebook for the Dead" (2010, in Obverse Books' short story collection The Obverse Book of Ghosts)
  • "Mrs. Hudson at the Christmas Hotel" (2013, in Titan Books' Encounters of Sherlock Holmes)
  • "The Ninnies on Putney Common" (2013, in Obverse Books' short story collection Fifteen (Iris Wildthyme) (also known as Iris:Fifteen), ed. Stuart Douglas, ISBN 978-1909031159)

Doctor Who novels for BBC Books[edit]

Doctor Who plays for Big Finish[edit]

Doctor Who plays for BBC Audio[edit]

  • Hornets' Nest 1: The Stuff Of Nightmares (2009, Fourth Doctor, Mike Yates, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Hornets' Nest 2: The Dead Shoes (2009, Fourth Doctor, Mike Yates, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Hornets' Nest 3: The Circus Of Doom (2009, Fourth Doctor, Mike Yates)
  • Hornets' Nest 4: A Sting In The Tale (2009, Fourth Doctor, Mike Yates, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Hornets' Nest 5: Hive Of Horror (2009, Fourth Doctor, Mike Yates, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Demon Quest 1: The Relics Of Time (2010, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Demon Quest 2: The Demon Of Paris (2010, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Demon Quest 3: A Shard Of Ice (2010, Fourth Doctor, Mike Yates)
  • Demon Quest 4: Starfall (2010, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey, Mike Yates)
  • Demon Quest 5: Sepulchre (2010, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey, Mike Yates)
  • Serpent Crest 1: Tsar Wars (2011, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Serpent Crest 2: The Broken Crown (2011, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Serpent Crest 3: Aladdin Time (2011, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey)
  • Serpent Crest 4: The Hexford Invasion (2011, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey, Mike Yates)
  • Serpent Crest 5: Survivors in Space (2011, Fourth Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey, Mike Yates)

Doctor Who short stories[edit]

Other plays[edit]

Books as editor[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Paul Magrs Biography". Simon & Schuster UK. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Paul Magrs Revealed". Simon & Schuster UK. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Magrs, Paul. "About Paul". Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Paul Magrs". lovereading4kids. Lovereading. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Sweet, Matthew (12 September 2004). "Paul Magrs: Magrs attacks!". The Independent. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Johnstone, Anne (22 July 2002). "So why are people losing the plot?". The Herald. p. 12. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Pratt, Steve (8 May 2007). "Golly goth". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 25 June 2010. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d e f Shillito, Ben (2001). "A Chronology of Paul Magrs". Phoenix Court website. Archived from the original on 17 April 2004. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Phoenix Court". LibraryThing. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Arditti, Michael (13 January 1998). "Book review: Could it be magic? by Paul Magrs". The Independent. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Morrison, Nick (3 July 2002). "Strange boy, singular writer". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c Taylor, Kizzy (23 June 2002). "Fury as schools to stock child gay sex book". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Martin, Lorna (24 June 2002). "Row over book on 10-year-old gay boy for school libraries" (fee required). The Herald. p. 6. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Wheeler, Caroline (30 June 2002). "Gay boy sex book is set for schools; No Midlands ban on explicit novel" (fee required). Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Watson-Brown, Linda (25 June 2002). "Wretched book robs children of their childhoods; Truth about gay novel approved for school libraries" (fee required). Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Cohen, Steven M. (25 June 2002). "Libraries: The War on Terror's New Front?". Fox News. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Sexually explicit book to be stocked in Scottish schools". M2 Best Books. 3 July 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  18. ^ Magrs, Paul (11 August 2002). "Stranger than fiction". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  19. ^ "Teenage Prize archive". Booktrust. 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  20. ^ "The CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominations for 2007". The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  21. ^ Magrs, Paul. "Doctor Who". Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  22. ^ a b c Magrs, Paul. "Iris Wildthyme". Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  23. ^ Douglas, Stuart (2007). "Iris in the Whoniverse". The Iris Wildthyme Pages. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  24. ^ "About Enter Wildthyme". snowbooks. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "Sick Building". Doncaster Book Award. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  26. ^ "Tom Baker returns as the Fourth Doctor in new audio dramas!" (Press release). BBC Worldwide. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  27. ^ a b Magrs, Paul. "Brenda and Effie". Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  28. ^ Burston, Paul (21 October 2007). "Something Borrowed, By Paul Magrs". The Independent. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  29. ^ Chris Judge (15 December 2012). "30 treats to put around the tree". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  30. ^ Magrs, Paul. "Pictures from a very autumnal weekend". Life on Magrs. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  31. ^ Magrs, Paul. "What's Up, Bernard Socks?". Life on Magrs. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  32. ^ Magrs, Paul. "Wibbsey And Company". Life on Magrs. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  33. ^ "Staff — Department of English". Manchester Metropolitan University. 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  34. ^ Bell, Julia; Magrs, Paul, eds. (1999). Pretext: the new journal of fiction, poetry and essays (EAS Publishing). 1: Salvage. ISBN 978-1-902913-01-8.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ Magrs, Paul, ed. (2000). Pretext (Norwich: Pen & Inc Press). 2: Fiction, Poetry, Criticism. ISBN 978-1-902913-05-6.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ Bell, Julia; Magrs, Paul, eds. (2001). The Creative Writing Coursebook. Macmillan UK. ISBN 978-0-333-78225-5. 
  37. ^
  38. ^

External links[edit]