Staying in with Magdalena McGuire


Having previously been privileged to interview Magdalena McGuire about Home is Nearby (here), I’m thrilled to welcome her back to Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me and tell me a little more about the book. I also reviewed Home is Nearby here so you might like to check out that post too.

If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.

Staying in with Magdalena McGuire

Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag Magdalena. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

Thanks so much for the invitation, Linda! I’m a huge fan of your blog so it’s lovely to be featured here.

For our night in I’ve brought along my novel, Home Is Nearby. Personally I love a bit of armchair travelling – there’s nothing like journeying to different countries and different times, all from the comfort of your own home. My book, Home Is Nearby, will transport us to 1980s communist Poland, where we’ll fall in love, create art, and be forced to make a decision that will shape the course of our lives…

(Oh yes! Love travelling through fiction and I can vouch for the fact that Home is Nearby gave me incredible insight into that era of Polish history.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Home Is Nearby?

Readers have said that they ‘lost themselves’ in the world of the narrator, Ania, that they were immersed in a world of beauty amidst loss. That’s exactly what I want readers to do – to lose themselves in the book, to feel that, in this moment, Ania’s world is their own. I loved the way that you put it in your review, Linda, when you said, “The emotion I felt at the end of the book was physical so that the experience of reading Home is Nearby will stay with me for a considerable time.” That’s a huge compliment for a writer!

(And I meant every word too.)

I also hope that the book will inspire readers to think about the value of art in politically challenging times. This theme is, of course, relevant not only to Ania’s time but to our own.

(You certainly made me think about art and if you don’t mind, I’ll quote from my own review too. I said ‘Magdalena McGuire’s writing helped me appreciate and understand what art’s various forms can add to our lives. I thought the exploration of the links between art and life was incredibly interesting.’)

What else have you brought along and why?

Magdalena 1

I’ve brought along a photo of myself taken in Poland in the 1980s. We moved to Australia shortly after this photo was taken. Whenever I look at it, I can’t help but wonder what life would’ve been like if we’d stayed in Poland. In fact, that’s part of the reason why I wrote Home Is Nearby – to explore this notion of an alternative life, a life that could have belonged to me, but didn’t.

(What a gorgeous picture. I think you’re quite right. There are an awful lot of ‘what ifs’ in life.)

Thanks so much for staying in with me to talk about Home Is Nearby, Magdalena. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Home is Nearby


1980: the beginning of the Polish Crisis. Brought up in a small village, country-girl Ania arrives in the university city of Wroclaw to pursue her career as a sculptor. Here she falls in love with Dominik, an enigmatic writer at the centre of a group of bohemians and avant-garde artists who throw wild parties. When martial law is declared, their lives change overnight: military tanks appear on the street, curfews are introduced and the artists are driven underground. Together, Ania and Dominik fight back, pushing against the boundaries imposed by the authoritarian communist government. But at what cost? ‘Home Is Nearby’ is a vivid and intimate exploration of the struggle to find your place in the world no matter where you are.

Published by Impress Books on 1st November 2017, Home is Nearby is available in e-book and paperback through the publisher links here.

About Magdalena McGuire

magdalena mcguire

Magdalena McGuire was born in Poland, grew up in Darwin, and now lives in Melbourne. Her short stories have been published in the UK and Australia by The Big Issue and The Bristol Prize, and by Margaret River Press respectively. She has published widely on human rights topics, including women’s rights and the rights of people with disabilities. She is an avid reader and particularly enjoys reading books about girls who like reading books. Her first novel, Home Is Nearby, is set in Poland, Australia and the United Kingdom, in the eventful period of the 1980s. She is also working on a collection of short stories that focus on questions of place, identity and unbelonging, particularly in cross-cultural contexts, as well as another historical fiction novel.

You can follow Magdalena on Twitter @Magdalena_McG and visit her website.

6 thoughts on “Staying in with Magdalena McGuire

  1. Lovely evening in with Magdalena. My ‘what if’ question is what if my parents had cancelled their £10 Pommies tickets to Australia when I was four years old. How different my life would have been!

    Liked by 2 people

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