Thursday 20 September 2018

Sebastian Barry announced as new Laureate for Irish Fiction 2018-2021

Literary light: Sebastian Barry photographed in Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; centralhoteldublin.com. Picture: Frank McGrath
Literary light: Sebastian Barry photographed in Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; centralhoteldublin.com. Picture: Frank McGrath
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Sebastian Barry has been named the new Laureate for Irish Fiction.

The award-winning novelist, poet and playwright will begin his three year term this month, taking over from Anne Enright.

Barry was born in Dublin in 1955 and has been writing since 1977.  In 1988 his play Boss Grady’s Boys won the first BBC/Stewart Parker Award and his experimental novel The Engine of Owl-Light (Paladin) was published in the late 80s.

Two of his novels - A Long Long Way (2005), and The Secret Scripture (2008) - were short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The latter was also shortlisted for the LA Times Book Awards, and won the Costa Book of the Year, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year.

He has three grown children, Merlin, Coral and Tobias, and lives in Wicklow with his wife Alison.

President Michael D Higgins made the announcement on Thursday morning at a ceremony in the Arts Council offices in Dublin.

Barry was chosen for the honour after a call for nominations in July 2017 and a rigorous selection process involving an international selection panel chaired by poet Paul Muldoon.

He will continue to write over the course of his term and will also spend one semester at University College Dublin and one semester at New York University.  While in residence he will teach creative writing and work directly with the students. 

He will also deliver an annual lecture and engage in a number of public events aiming to encourage greater engagement with Irish literature.

Online Editors

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top