Michael Magee – Close to Home

Sat 18 Nov 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Michael Magee Dingle Lit 2023


1:30pm - 2:30pm


Returning home to Belfast after university, Sean discovers a city that several years later is still reeling from the 2008 financial crash – with its inhabitants unemployed or overworked and underpaid but united in their struggle to find meaning in the day to day. Close To Home is the debut novel from Michael Magee and sheds new light on common themes such as addiction, poverty, violence and trauma and the universal experience of finding out what sort of person you want to be, set against a working class background. It follows Sean after he randomly attacks a stranger at a party and is sentenced to 200 hours of community service, which forces him to reflect on his life, community and the changes he wants to make for his future. A brutal look at modern masculinity, Close To Home has been described as “luminous and devastating”.

Michael Magee is himself from Belfast and in writing this novel wanted to shed a light on the factors that shape the lives of working class men. While it is not simply autobiographical, Magee did leave Belfast to go to university in Liverpool, returning to the city in 2011 and finding it changed beyond recognition.

Magee is the fiction editor of The Tangerine and a graduate of the PhD Creative Writing programme at Queen’s University, Belfast. His writing has appeared in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, The Lifeboat and in The 32: An Anthology of Working Class Writing. This is his first foray into fiction and, in an interview with Dingle Lit’s Niall McDowell, he’ll discuss how moving from writing memoir to autofiction enabled him to go into more vulnerable spaces and introduce characters which might otherwise have escaped him.