The Moment of Truth is just a really good story — fast-paced, suspenseful, authentic and inspiring, beautifully told and full of memorable characters.

Huffington Post


An enjoyable read for those interested in the life of a woman determined to succeed in a man’s world.

Library Journal

McNicholl’s moving novel, rich in emotion and written with style and precision (the bullfighting scenes have the crisp clarity of Hemingway), strikes a fine balance between love story and historical adventure. Though he sets the book in another place and time and evokes both vividly, McNicholl uses the sensibilities of his heroine to give the story a very modern-seeming immediacy. This pairs well with Malcolm Brooks’ Painted Horses.”



Damian McNicholl is a natural storyteller, every detail, every twist, brilliantly deployed to keep you riveted to this tale of bullfighting, mid-century feminist dilemmas, romantic love, and power struggles of every kind. What a  complete, compelling world..."    

Robin Black,  Author of Life Drawing


The Moment of Truth is the best book I've read on bullfighting in a long time. Damian McNicholl tells this story with consummate ease and compelling imagery. A book for aficionados and for those who want to feel what it's like to be a woman competing in the very masculine world of corrida."

John Hemingway, writer, journalist and aficionado


Through spare and touching prose, Damian McNicholl draws us into an arena inspired by history and transformed by imagination into a startlingly relevant story that will spark recognition for anyone whose passion and ambition has been challenged at every achievement worthy of resounding applause.

Affinity Konar, author of Mischling, a New York Times Notable Book

Life, death, love and bullfighting converge in McNicholl's shatteringly original novel about a young female art student struggling to be the first American matador in 1950's Mexico. So smartly written...

Caroline Leavitt, author of  Cruel Beautiful World and the New York Times Bestsellers Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow  

Damian McNicholl’s stunning novel unflinchingly tracks the journey of following one’s dream...vibrant cast of characters and evocative prose...By turns exhilarating and  heartbreaking...

Sarah-Jane Stratford, bestselling author of Radio Girls


Inspired by true events, a young woman way ahead of the 1950s era takes charge of her career in McNicholl beautifully rendered, elegant and exhilarating novel.

Joan Schweighardt, author of The Accidental Art Thief


Now available in Paperback

My Story

I've been a writer ever since I was  kid. I just didn't know it. First I was a storyteller. There's an Irish tradition of oral story telling. The Seanchaí were either wandering itinerants or servants of the Irish kings and chieftains who entertained at large and small gatherings and festivals, telling mythical stories about giants, Irish warriors, kings and queens and infamous battles. My audience wasn't as grand nor the stories as epic, comprising my siblings and cousins and I'd create stories at night in bed about friends and adult neighbors and have everyone in stitches begging for more. Life got serious after I started high school and the pressure to score great grades and get accepted for admission to university resulted in my abandoning my love of telling stories, albeit I wasn't consciously aware I was doing so at the time. This abandonment of my destiny lasted through law school and many years of my working career until, during my daily commute on the bus to and from NYC where I worked as legal counsel at a corporation, I  decided to teach myself fiction and a realization set in that this is what I was born to do in life.

 My 'cutting one's teeth' novel remains as bits and bytes on a computer hard disk. Then I wrote A Son Called Gabriel, a literary story about a boy's coming of age during the Irish Troubles, which attracted the interest of a literary agent and was published in 2004. It attracted good critical acclaim and was both a Lambda Literary Awards finalist in the debut category and Foreword Magazine Book of the Year finalist. Twisted Agendas, my next novel, was published in the UK in 2011 and is different in that it's a comedic fish-out-of-water story about a youth moving from Ireland to London where he moves in with an eccentric border agent and attracts the attention of a nosy neighbor with a, well, twisted agenda. The Moment of Truth represents my return to accessible literary fiction. And my brilliant new publisher has agreed to my rewriting the ending to A Son Called Gabriel, something I've wanted to do because I realized shortly after publication I hadn't been true to Gabriel. It will be republished Fall 2017 and he'll be happy.


I've appeared on CBS, WYBE Public Television, National Public Radio and other media outlets in the United States and United Kingdom to discuss my work and currently live in bucolic Bucks County, Pennsylvania amid the bobtail deer, turkeys and occasional black bear.

Twisted Agendas

My Books
Press & Reviews

"[A] fine, compassionate coming-of-age story. McNicholl paints a rich picture of Gabriel’s life and all its conflicted messages about sex… McNicholl is a graceful writer, and his is a worthy debut."

Publisher's Weekly


Enter Goodreads to win one of 6 copies of new released THE MOMENT OF TRUTH Paperback

@Litchat essay about writing historical fiction and political correctness.

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