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Sebastian Barry
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Sebastian Barry
persona image
Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. The current Laureate for Irish Fiction, his novels have twice won the Costa Book of the Year award, the Independent Booksellers Award and the Walter Scott Prize. He had two consecutive novels shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Long Long Way (2005) and the top ten bestseller The Secret Scripture (2008), and has also won the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lives in County Wicklow.

Biography
1955
Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955, and attended Catholic University School, and Trinity College, where he read Latin and English.
1988
Barry's play Boss Grady’s Boys won the first BBC/Stewart Parker Award. He was Writer-in-Association at the Abbey in 1990, and was elected to Aosdána in 1989. Subsequent plays were Prayers of Sherkin (Peacock Theatre, 1990), White Woman Street (Bush Theatre, 1992) and The Only True History of Lizzie Finn (Abbey Theatre, 1995).
1995
The Steward of Christendom, which starred Donal McCann, played at The Royal Court, the Gate Theatre in Dublin, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the US. It won the London Critics' Circle Award, a Writer’s Guild Award, the Lloyd's Private Banking Playwright of the Year Award, the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize, and was nominated for an Olivier Award.
1996
Sebastian Barry was Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin.
1997
Barry received the Irish-American Fund Literary Award.
1998
Our Lady of Sligo in 1998 starred Sinéad Cusack, and was seen in the Royal National Theatre, the Gate Theatre, and the Irish Rep in New York. It was joint winner of the Peggy Ramsay Award. In the same year he published a novel, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, with Picador.
2004
His play Whistling Psyche was at the Almeida Theatre with Claire Bloom and Kathryn Hunter.
2005
Sebastian Barry's novel A Long Long Way (Faber & Faber) was published and won the Kerry Irish Fiction Award, and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Impac Prize.
2006
He was Heimbold Visiting Professor at Villanova University. His play The Pride of Parnell Street (Fishamble) was seen at the Tricycle Theatre, the Dublin Theatre Festival, the New Haven International Festival of the Arts, and 59E59 Theaters in New York.
2008
Dallas Sweetman was performed at the Canterbury Festival in the cathedral, starring Conleth Hill. The Secret Scripture, a novel, was published that year, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the LA Times Book Awards, and won the Costa Book of the Year, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award, and the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year.
2009
Barry received a Dublin Lord Mayor’s Award, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of East Anglia, Galway University and the Open University. His archive is held at The Harry Ransom Center in Texas.
2011
His novel On Canaan's Side was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Walter Scott Prize.
2016
His novel Days Without End was published by Faber in 2016 and won the Costa Book of the Year Award, The Walter Scott Prize and the IBW Book Award.
2017
His play, On Blueberry Hill (Fishamble, with Niall Buggy and David Ganley), was seen at the Dublin Theatre Festival.
2018
He was Laureate for Irish Fiction from 2018–2021. His three lectures as Laureate, The lives of the Saints, will be published by Faber in 2022.
2020
On Blueberry Hill opened on the West End at Trafalgar Studios just as the pandemic began. Around the same time, A Thousand Moons was published.
2021
Sebastian Barry received an Alumni Award from Trinity College Dublin in 2021.
Books by Sebastian Barry
Author Videos
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty</i>
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>Annie Dunne</i>
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>A Long Long Way</i>
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>Days Without End</i>
Author Videos
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty</i>
Sebastian Barry reads from The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>Annie Dunne</i>
Sebastian Barry reads from Annie Dunne
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>A Long Long Way</i>
Sebastian Barry reads from A Long Long Way
Sebastian Barry reads from <i>Days Without End</i>
Sebastian Barry reads from Days Without End
Praise for Sebastian Barry

‘Nobody writes like, nobody takes lyrical risks like, nobody pushes the language, and the heart, and the two together, quite like Sebastian Barry does, so that you come out of whatever he writes like you've been away, in another climate.’

Ali Smith
Praise for Sebastian Barry

‘His work reminds us how much we need these rare gifts of the natural storyteller, for reckoning with our past and present.’

Tessa Hadley
Praise for Sebastian Barry

‘Prose this good is a kind of enchantment, transcending the constructs that are supposed to define us.’

Observer
Praise for Sebastian Barry

‘One of Sebastian Barry's extraordinary gifts as a writer is his boundless capacity for empathy, for inhabiting the skin, nerves and mouths of characters the river of history tends to wash away.’

Irish Times
Quotes from Sebastian Barry

‘Even when you come out
of bloodshed and disaster
in the end you have got to
learn to live . . .’

A Thousand Moons
<i>A Thousand Moons</i> <div class=
From the Journal
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Sebastian Barry’s Laureate Reads

Laureate for Irish Fiction Sebastian Barry will read from his celebrated novels every Friday for the next eight weeks. Recorded at home in the Wicklow mountains, Barry’s reading of The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty is available to watch now. His next recording will be live on Friday at 11 a.m.  Follow #LaureateReads on Twitter or check […]

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90th Anniversary Reading List

                       

Reading List
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Read Sebastian Barry’s Laureate for Irish Fiction speech

At a ceremony held on 8 February 2018 in the Arts Council, Irish President Michael D. Higgins announced Sebastian Barry as the Laureate for Irish Fiction 2018–2021. Barry – an award-winning playwright, novelist and poet – is taking over the laureateship from Anne Enright and his three-year term will begin this month. He delivered the following […]

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Sebastian Barry reads from Days Without End

Listen to Sebastian Barry, author of Booker-shortlisted The Secret Scripture and A Long Long Way, read from Days Without End – his latest novel about two men and the hands in life they are dealt, set in some of the most fateful years in America’s past. Time was not something then we thought of as […]

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Listen & Watch
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