Paul McDonald (writer)
|Known for||Writer and academic|
Paul McDonald (born 1961 in Walsall) is a British academic, comic novelist, and poet. He teaches English and American Literature at the University of Wolverhampton, where he also runs the Creative and Professional Writing Programme.
He left school at 16 and began work as a saddlemaker, an occupation that provides the backdrop for his first novel, Surviving Sting (2001). After a period studying with the Open University, McDonald entered full-time education at Birmingham Polytechnic, where he began writing fiction, initially producing stories for the women's romance market under a female pseudonym. He later won a scholarship to research a PhD, and in 1994 took an academic post teaching American literature at the University of Wolverhampton.
His second novel, Kiss Me Softly, Amy Turtle (2004) is a comic mystery satirising the Midlands town of Walsall, while his third, Do I Love You? (2008), takes Northern Soul as its theme. His poetry began appearing in the early 1990s and embraces a range of themes and styles. Again humour is a feature, as is surrealism, but he also writes serious love poetry, and verse about art and travel. His most recent collections are Catch a Falling Tortoise (2007) and An Artist Goes Bananas (2012). McDonald's poetry has won several prizes, including the 2012 John Clare Prize. His academic writing includes books on Philip Roth, Joseph Heller, the fiction of The Black Country, and humour.
As a humour specialist, McDonald has made several TV appearances, including on BBC Breakfast and The One Show, and he is credited with identifying the oldest joke in the world. He discusses the latter, and some of the ideas contained in his book The Philosophy of Humour with Michael Grade in the BBC documentary Michael Grade & The World's Oldest Joke.
- The Right Suggestion (1999)
- Catch a Falling Tortoise (2007)
- An Artist Goes Bananas (2012)
- Rimbaud's Hair (2017)
- Surviving Sting (2001)
- Kiss Me Softly, Amy Turtle (2004)
- Do I Love You? (2008)
- Fiction from the Furnace (2002)
- Students Guide to Philip Roth (2003)
- Laughing at the Darkness (2011)
- Reading Catch-22 (2012)
- Reading Toni Morrison's Beloved (2013)
- Storytelling (2014)
- Philip Roth Through the Lens of Kepesh (2016)
- The Enigmas of Confinement (2018)
- Lydia Davis: A Study (2019)
- Allen Ginsberg:Cosmopolitan Comic (2020)
- The Philosophy of Humour (2013)
- Loffing Matters (2006)
- The Tipping Point (2012)
- Literary Heritage West Midlands Author Unnamed, page entry 2002. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Rachel Taylor, "Review of Surviving Sting", FictionNet, 2001.
- Richard Williamson, "The Perils of Love in the Raunchy, Rude, Violent, Badlands of Walsall", The Sunday Mercury, 7 October 2001.
- "In Conversation with Author and Lecturer Paul McDonald". Transition/Tradition. 7 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- Anita Sethi, "Escape from Walsall", The Times Literary Supplement, 21 May 2004 (19–20).
- "Melvyn Bragg's Travels in Written Britain: The Midlands", The Telegraph, 12 July 2007.
- Jodie Hamilton, "Review of Kiss Me Softly Amy Turtle", Ready Steady Book, 12 April 2005.
- Toby Clements, "Saving the Hapless Male", The Telegraph, 20 September 2008.
- Cahir O'Doherty, "Do I Love You: Paul McDonald", Irish Central, March 7th, 2010.
- Caroline Clark, "Catch a Falling Tortoise", gwales.com 7 September 2007.
- "Appointments", Times Higher Educational Supplement, 4 October 2012.
- Chris Osborne, "From Saddles to Chuckles", BBC Black Country Website, January 2008.
- Jonathan Williams, "Of Roth and Walsall", The Student Times, 3 November 2008 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Stephen Adams, "The World's Oldest Joke Revealed by University Research", The Telegraph. 31 July 2008.
- John Joseph, "World's Oldest Joke Traced Back to 1900 BC", Reuters Website, 31 July 2008.
- "Flatulence joke is world's oldest", BBC News Website Friday, 1 August 2008.
- Michael Grade & The World's Oldest Joke, broadcast 6 March 2013 (BBC Four).