James McGonigal is a poet, editor and critic, formerly a teacher and teacher educator. He taught English in secondary schools in Central and South-West Scotland 1971–1985, and subsequently in teacher education, becoming Head of English in Jordanhill College of Education and Head of Language and Literature in St Andrew’s College of Education, Glasgow (1985–1999), carrying this role forward into the Faculty of Education, University of Glasgow (1999–2008).
His publications include curriculum development materials for Scottish and UK secondary schools. He has combined research and publications in language education, reading and writing development, special needs, classroom interaction and social capital in school education, with co-edited anthologies of Scottish religious poetry, contemporary Scottish writing, and writing for children. Edwin Morgan was his teacher at Glasgow University in the 1960s and 1970s, and their subsequent friendship led to Beyond the Last Dragon: A Life of Edwin Morgan (2012), The Midnight Letterbox (2015), a selection of the poet’s correspondence 1950–2010, and Edwin Morgan: In Touch With Language: A New Prose Collection 1950–2005 (2020), the latter two co-edited with Dr John Coyle.
James McGonigal is now Emeritus Professor of English in Education and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow.