Darkly moving and beautifully written, Bernie McGill's debut collection of short stories explores the lives of women across the generations. From the storm-battered coastline of the north of Ireland to the sleeping villas of Andalusia, McGill's characters grapple with the consequences of affairs, bereavement, alcoholism, illness and murder.
Compassionate and quietly powerful, McGill's stories capture intimate moments of loss, love and healing in a troubled age.
'McGill's plotting is masterful. These are “killer-blow” stories but [she] carefully guards against sensationalism. Her talent for combining keen observation with a kind of symbolic import is evident. Everything is very precisely described, and yet, more unusually, there is a lyric quality to the description. McGill herself brings not only an awareness of literature, but a poetic sensibility to how she layers her short stories as a poet would layer an image – conscious that meaning is ambiguous, contradictory, polyvalent.' Dr Tess Magennis, Queen's University, Belfast
'Bernie McGill has a seductive way of easing the reader in and out of a story, without the need for killer opening sentences or twist endings. Hers is the voice of an authentic storyteller who guides the reader through her fictional world with authority… I rarely read the first story in a book and immediately re-read it, nor do I finish a short story collection and turn straight back to the beginning. In the case of Bernie McGill’s Sleepwalkers, I did both.' Safia Moore in The Incubator Journal (p.67)
'If I could be any other kind of writer, I would want to be Bernie McGill' Ian Sansom
'A writer to watch out for' Sunday Tribune
Read 'What I Was Left' from Sleepwalkers here.
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'Sleepwalkers' is included in Sleepwakers & Other Stories. It was first Prizewinner in the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest (US) December 2008.
'No Angel' is included in Sleepwalkers & Other Stories, is anthologised in The Best British Short Stories 2011, published April 2011 by Salt Publishing and edited by Nicholas Royle. It won second place in both the Michael McLaverty and the Seán O’Faóláin Short Story Competitions 2010, and is also published in Scandal and Other Stories available from the Linen Hall Library, Belfast.
'Home' is included in Sleepwalkers & Other Stories. It was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in October 2010 and published in The Winners of the Bridport Prize 2010.
'First Tooth' is included in Sleepwalkers & Other Stories. It was originally published, along with 'Service Interrupted' in My Story, Blackstaff Press/BBC Radio Ulster, Belfast, April 2006, edited by Pauline Currie.