Glenn Patterson


Glenn Patterson was born in Belfast in 1961 and studied on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia taught by Malcolm Bradbury. He returned to Northern Ireland in 1988 and was Writer in the Community for Lisburn and Craigavon under a scheme administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

He is the author of several novels. The first, Burning Your Own (1988), set in Northern Ireland in 1969, won a Betty Trask Award and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Fat Lad (1992), was shortlisted for the Guinness Peat Aviation Book Award and explores the effects of the political situation in Northern Ireland through the story of a young man returning to his homeland after an absence of ten years. Black Night at Big Thunder Mountain (1995) narrates the experiences of three people brought together on the Euro Disney construction site. The International (1999), is set in a Belfast hotel in 1967, and tells the story of a day in the life of Danny, an 18-year-old barman; Number 5 (2003), traces the lives of the various occupants of a Belfast house over a 45-year period. That Which Was (2004), is also set in Belfast and explores the interaction between memory, history and society.

His non fiction includes Lapsed Protestant, a collection of his short reflective pieces, published in 2006 and Once Upon a Hill: Love in Troubled Times, a family history, was published in September 2008.

Glenn Patterson has been Writer in Residence at the Universities of East Anglia, Cork and Queen’s University, Belfast, where he currently teaches on the MA in Creative Writing. He was was elected on to Aosdána, the affiliation of Irish Artists.

“I really dislike the term ‘the two communities’,” he says. “It’s just a lie. What does it mean, ‘the Protestant community’? What does it mean to me? I was born Protestant and I went to a Presbyterian church, but what ‘the two communities’ connotes is that, if you know what the religion of birth is, you can know their politics. And it’s just not the thing that defines me or most people.”


Burning Your Own (London: Chatto and Windus, 1988)

Fat Lad (London: Chatto and Windus, 1992)

Black Night at Big Thunder Mountain (London: Chatto and Windus, 1995)

The International (London: Anchor Books, 1999)

Number 5 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2003)

That Which Was (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2004)

The Third Party (Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 2007)

The Mill for Grinding Old People Young (London: Faber, 2012)

The Rest Just Follows (London: Faber, 2015)

Gull (London: Head of Zeus, 2016)


Lapsed Protestant (Dublin: New Island Books, 2006), journalistic writings

Once Upon a Hill: Love in Troubled Times (London: Bloomsbury, 2008), memoir

Here’s Me Here (Dublin: New Island Books, 2015), journalistic writings


Good Vibrations [with Colin Carberry] (2012)

Prizes & Awards

1988 Betty Trask Award Burning Your Own

1989 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature Burning Your Own

1993 Guinness Peat Aviation Book Award (shortlist) Fat Lad

2006 Arts Council Northern Ireland Major Individual Artist Award

2008 Lannan Foundation Fellowship