Ian McGuire is a long-term academic, having joined the English department of Manchester University in 1996 where he specialises in the late-19th century American realist tradition.
One of his specialisms is Herman Melville, which explains the one degree of separation between Moby Dick and The North Water. He also grew up near Hull, a major whaling port in the late 19th century. McGuire’s first paid piece of writing was a poem for his school magazine about a motorcycle accident death (‘It was strongly influenced by the Shangri-Las’ classic “Leader of the Pack”.’) He was 13 and was paid 50 pence and a Mars bar for it. He has now written three novels and a study of the American novelist and short-story writer Richard Ford.