Patrick McGuinness, Professor of French and 
Comparative Literature at St Anne’s College, 
was awarded the Writer’s Guild Award for Best 
Fiction Book last week for his novel The Last Hundred Days.
Set in 1989 Bucharest, the novel narrates the 
last days of Ceucescu’s rule of Romania through 
the extraordinary experiences of a fictional English academic who accepts a job in a Romanian 
university. The unnamed narrator, leaving behind a series of traumatising memories ventures into the chaos of Communist Romania. 
There, he finds intense poverty and despair 
juxtaposed with lavish meals at the elegant 
Caspa Hotel, where expats and party apparatchiks drown away their guilt. In particular, the 
narrator finds himself mixing with a medley of 
different personalities: activist human traffickers; the extravagant, nonchalant Leo, a black 
market expert; and the nostalgic, wistful and 
yet determined Trofim, an ex-Party leader who 
is engaged in writing two memoirs, a censored 
version, and an honest one. 
The novel, which is semi-autobiographical, 
deals with some of the experiences which 
McGuinness himself had while in Romania. In particular, the book explores the 
theme of memory. In a city being ruined and destroyed by a totalitarian 
regime, memories are perceived to 
be more valuable than real life. 
The award, which was presented to the author last Wednesday, 
is the latest of a number of accolades towards the novel following its publication last year, which 
included Man Booker Prize and Costa 
Book Awards shortlists. 
Professor McGuinness’ academic work 
has focussed on the writings of T. E. 
Hulme and Stephane Mallarmé, while 
he has also in the past published a number of 
poetry collections, some of which have been 
translated into French and Italian. His latest 
poetry collection, Jilted City, was published in 
2010. 
The Writer’s Guild is an association that promotes suitable conditions for writers of all 
levels and of all type across the country. Other 
awards included the Best Videogame Script 
category, awarded to Paul Crooker for Batman: 
Arkham City, and the Special Award for Outstanding Writing awarded this year to Stephen 
Moffat in recognition of his long career as a 
screenwriter.

Patrick McGuinness, Professor of French and Comparative Literature at St Anne’s College, was awarded the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Fiction Book last week for his novel The Last Hundred Days.

Set in 1989 Bucharest, the novel narrates the last days of Ceucescu’s rule of Romania through the extraordinary experiences of a fictional English academic who accepts a job in a Romanian university.

The semi-autobiographical novel deals with some of the experiences which McGuinness himself had while in Romania.

The award, which was presented to the author last Wednesday, is the latest of a number of accolades towards the novel following its publication last year, which included Man Booker Prize and Costa Book Awards shortlists. 

Professor McGuinness’ academic work has focussed on the writings of T. E. Hulme and Stephane Mallarmé, while he has also in the past published a number of poetry collections, some of which have been translated into French and Italian. His latest poetry collection, Jilted City, was published in 2010. 

The Writer’s Guild is an association that promotes suitable conditions for writers of all levels and of all type across the country. Other awards included the Best Videogame Script category, awarded to Paul Crooker for Batman: Arkham City, and the Special Award for Outstanding Writing awarded this year to Stephen Moffat in recognition of his long career as a screenwriter.