Janet McNeill

Janet McNeill (14 Sept 1907 – October 1994) was an Irish novelist and playwright.

Janet McNeillShe was born in Dublin. Her father was a minister at Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church. In 1913, the family moved to Birkenhead, and later, in 1924, to Belfast.

McNeill studied the Classics and completed a Master’s degree at the University of St Andrews. She graduated in 1929, and moved to Belfast, where she worked for the Belfast Telegraph. She married an engineer in 1933.

In 1946, McNeill won a prize for the play Gospel Truth, in a BBC competition. She then began to write radio dramas, which were broadcasted by the BBC. After a brain haemorrhage, in 1953, she began writing novels.

In 1964, the couple moved to Bristol. She died in 1994.



  • A Child in the House (Hodder & Stoughton 1955)
  • The Other Side of the Wall (Hodder & Stoughton 1956)
  • Tea at Four O’Clock (Hodder & Stoughton 1956)
  • A Finished Room (Hodder & Stoughton 1958)
  • Search Party (Hodder & Stoughton [1959])
  • As Strangers Here (Hodder & Stoughton 1960)
  • The Early Harvest (Geoffrey Bles 1962)
  • The Maiden Dinosaur (Geoffrey Bles 1964; rep. Blackstaff 1985)-[in USA] as The Belfast Friends (USA: Mifflin 1966)
  • Talk to Me (Geoffrey Bles 1965)
  • The Small Window (Geoffrey Bles 1967), Do. (NY: Atheneum 1968)
  • Short fiction, A Light Dozen (Faber 1957).

Short fiction

  • A Light Dozen (London: Faber 1957)
  • Special Occasions (London: Faber 1960)
  • Wait For It, and Other Stories (London: Faber 1972)
  • Just Turn the Key, and Other Stories (London: Hamish Hamilton 1976).

Children’s Books

  • My Friend Specs McCann (Faber 1955)
  • A Pinch of Salt (Faber 1956)
  • Specs Fortissimo (Faber 1958)
  • This Happy Morning(Faber 1959)
  • Various Specs (Faber 1961)
  • Finn and the Black Hog (Novello [1962])
  • Libretto for children’s opera, music by Raymond Warren
  • Try These for Size (Faber 1963)
  • Tom’s Tower (Faber 1956)
  • I Didn’t Invite You to my Party (Hamish Hamilton 1967)
  • A Helping Hand (Hamilton 1971)
  • Much Too Much Magic (Hamilton 1971)
  • The Prisoner in the Park (Faber 1971)
  • The Nest Spotters (Macmillan 1972)
  • A Fairy Called Andy Perks (Hamilton 1973)
  • The Other People (Chatto & Windus 1973)
  • The Snow-Clean Pinny (Hamilton 1973)
  • Umbrella Thursday and a Helping Hand (Harmondsworth: Puffin 1973)
  • The Family Upstairs (Macmillan 1974)
  • The Magic Lollipop (Knight Books 1974)
  • We Three Kings(Faber 1974)
  • Ever After (Chatto & Windus 1975)
  • Go On, Then (Macmillan 1975)
  • Growlings (Macmillan 1975)
  • My Auntie (Macmillan 1975)
  • Billy Brewer Goes on Tour (Macmillan 1977)
  • The Day Mum Came Home (Macmillan 1977)
  • The Hermit’s Purple Shirts (Macmillan 1977)
  • Look Who’s Here (Macmillan 1977)
  • The Three Crowns of King Hullaballoo (Knight Books 1977)


  • Gospel Truth (Belfast: H. R. Carter [1951])
  • Signs and Wonders ([q.pub.]: 1951)
  • Switch-On, Switch-Off and Other Plays (London: Faber 1968)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. It amazes me how many books Janet McNeill wrote and she us barely mentioned, or read anymore. Fascinating.


    1. juliana says:

      Yes, that’s a shame! Her writing is exquisite, in a subtle way. She should be read and discussed.

      Liked by 1 person

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