novelist and short‐story writer, born in Belfast. He worked as a laboratory technician for ten years before reading English at The Queen's University, Belfast. He then moved to Scotland, working as a teacher, and writing his first collection of stories, Secrets (1977). His first novel, Lamb (1980), is the tragic tale of a Christian Brother who flees a dismal reformatory, taking with him an abused 12‐year‐old boy. A Time to Dance (1982, stories) was followed by Cal (1983), a novel of the Troubles. This was followed by two more story collections, The Great Profundo (1987) and Walking the Dog (1994). His third novel, Grace Notes (1997), a reflection on the power of art to transform experience, is rooted in Irish identity and culture, as a young composer escapes a repressive Catholic upbringing and finally comes to terms with the tormented history of her birthplace. Similar themes are explored in The Anatomy School (2001).