Merdog Books to release first publication on Derry man Charlie McGuinness

An Inishowen couple are preparing to release the first book through their newly launched independent publishing company.

Merdog Books is the brainchild of Aoife and Adrian Grant from Buncrana.

They publish fiction and non- fiction titles, and their first release will be Nomad, the memoir of Derry man Charles John McGuinness.

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Charlie McGuiness was born in Derry in 1893 and died in 1947. Nomad was his first memoir, published in 1934. It tells the story of his life up until the point he decides to investigate life in Soviet Russia.

In 1908, aged 15, he boarded a ship on Derry quay and sailed around the coast of Britain and Ireland for six months.

He was bitten by the travel bug and adventured across the world for the rest of his life.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Aoife said: “Adrian is a historian at Magee, and he came across Nomad when he was researching his latest book.

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“He got me to read it and I just fell in love with the story. Charlie is a really charismatic man, I think people in Derry will be very interested to read about him.”

Aoife, an English teacher, said starting a publishing company was something Adrian and herself “talked about for years.”

Aoife took a break from teaching after having her first child 18 months ago, and said it “seemed like the right time” to start Merdog.

“Books are our life, they’re all over the house. We wanted to to include our dog Larkin in the name in some capacity, as well as our love for the ocean, so after going through a few names Merdog was the one. Charlie wrote this memoir and it has gone out of copyright, which means we are able to print it. The original memoir is very hard to find, you’ll probably get it in a rare bookshop but it’s not really available and they’re expensive to buy now.

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“We wanted to bring his story to light for an affordable price. We found an old copy of it and got it together, and got it ready for print. Merdog is going to be publishing fiction and non-fiction books. We might do series of reprints like Nomad, but we have a fresh fiction coming up in 2019. That’s nearly ready to go, and it’s exciting. We’re hoping to produce maybe three or four books a year, and our submissions policy is on our website,” she said. For more information, visit

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