The Last Hundred Days is set in the last days of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Romania, where Patrick McGuinness lived. It was not his first revolution: he was in Iran during the fall of the Shah.
McGuinness is nothing if not international: he was born in Tunisia to an Anglo-Irish father and a French-speaking Belgian mother and has lived in Belgium, Venezuela, Iran, Romania, Oxford and Wales. If he feels anything it is Welsh and stood as a Plaid Cymru candidate in the 2019 elections for the European Parliament. He is a poet and Oxford academic – specialising in modernist literature – as well as a novelist. He is aware of the dangers of mixing his métiers, not least ‘slabs of set-pieces; micro-interest in sensations and textures, and gratuitous phrase-making’.