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Sebastian Barry Books In Order

Publication Order of Dunne Family Books

The Steward of Christendom (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Annie Dunne (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Long Long Way (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
On Canaan's Side (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of McNulty Family Books

The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Secret Scripture (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Temporary Gentleman (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Macker's Garden (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Time Out of Mind (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Elsewhere (1985) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Engine of Owl-light (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Rhetorical Town (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Pride of Parnell Street (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dallas Sweetman (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Days Without End (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Plays

The Water-colourist (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Prayers of Sherkin (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Only True History of Lizzie Finn (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Our Lady of Sligo (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hinterland (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Whistling Psyche / Fred and Jane (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Andersen's English (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Tales of Ballycumber (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

An Irish writer, Sebastian Barry is both a playwright and a novelist by trade, with a number of different works under his belt, and has established a name for himself over the years as one of the most critically well regarded authors of his generation. Known for his beginnings in poetry as well, he’s a highly versatile writer, with an extremely strong and recognizable voice, one which stands out among his peers and contemporaries. With a cinematic adaptation of his 2008 novel ‘The Secret Scripture’, he’s become a firm fixture on the literary scene, and an institution in his own right.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1955 on the 5th of July, he was born and raised in the city of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. This was an upbringing that weighed heavily on his work later on, as he spent his formative years taking in the sights and sounds of the world around him. Creating his voice, it would all work to allow him to harness his style and his tone in the intervening years to follow.

Educated at the prestigious Trinity College in the city of Dublin, he first attended the Catholic University School. Growing up he also learned a lot about the stage from his mother, the famous and world renowned Irish actress Joan O’Hara. All of this helped to provide him with the foundations required for following his career as a famous playwright and novelist.

Prior to becoming a playwright and famous novelist, he has served in a number of different roles, many of which he has continued throughout his writing career. These include academic positions, such as his time at the University of Iowa in 1984, whereby he was an Honorary Fellow in Writing. He has also been a poet as well, which is evident in his material and prose, as it’s allowed him to develop his style and flow.

Currently living in County Wicklow in Ireland, he still writes to this very day, as he remains true to himself and his roots. Living with his wife Alison and their three children, Toby, Coral and Merlin, he continues to take inspiration from the world around him. With a book inspired by his son Toby’s coming out as gay, he wrote the novel ‘Days Without End’, as he factored in a gay character based on his son.

Writing Career

Publishing his first novel in 1982, the playwright and soon to be highly regarded author Sebastian Barry made his way into the limelight with ‘Macker’s Garden’. This quickly established him as a serious presence in the literary scene, and a strong contender for a number of awards. Setting up his style and his tone, he brought his characters to life, thus setting the template for a lot of fiction to follow in its footsteps.

With a strong sense of flow, he’s not without controversy in his career, as he tackles themes and subjects that other writers shy away from. One such example would be that of his 2002 novel Hinterland, which some reviewers and critics had trouble with. This just goes to show the somewhat divisive nature of his work and the strength behind it, allowing the uniqueness of his voice to shine through.

Being awarded the Critics’ Circle Theater Award for Best New Play, along with the Costa Book of the Year award, he’s attained a high level of critical standing. With his work well regarded by both critics and the general public alike, he’s achieved an extremely high standard of success. This is what has paved the way to him becoming the world renowned playwright and author that he is currently is today.

One of his crowning achievements, though, is his short-listing of the Man Booker Award twice, a monumental prize. The first time was for his 2005 novel ‘A Long Long Way’, and the second was for his 2008 title ‘The Secret Scripture’, which was also made into a film. Not just a success in print, but on-screen as well, he was well on his to way to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the literary world.

Still writing for the stage as well, with his 2010 production of ‘Andersen’s English’, based on Hans Christian Andersen, touring that year. Focusing on the time Hans Christian Andersen came to stay with the author Charles Dickens, it was a well received production drawing in large audiences. Showing no signs of stopping anytime soon either, he’s continually increasing his profile, moving on and always keeping himself busy.

The Secret Scripture

Loosely making up a part of the McNulty Family collection of novels, this was first published on the 2nd of April in 2008. Whilst it works as a stand-alone novel, there’s a narrative arc running through the background for those following it. Accessible and easy to pick-up, it’s been heralded as a masterpiece by many with its rich and vibrant characters, and finely woven narrative.

Focusing on the character of Roseanne McNulty, it sees her as she’s approaching her one-hundredth birthday. Spending a large portion of her life in the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital, she’s also facing the closure of a place she’s called home for the majority of her adult life. Speaking to her psychiatrist, the narrative goes back, as her history and future unfolds to reveals something wholly unexpected and beautiful, also reflecting the history of Ireland as a country. Where did she come from? Who is she really? What secrets are held within the secret scripture?

Hinterland: A Play

Originally published in 2002 on the 12th of December, this was initially released through the Faber and Faber publishing house. Working as a stand-alone, it was first a play, as it captures the essence of the stage production perfectly for any fans of the playwright. Providing an insight into his work on-stage, it offers a unique insight into his development as a writer and the novelist he became.

Loosely based on the presidency of Charles Haughey, this sees the fictional character of Johnny Silvester from Derry living in retirement from being Prime Minister just outside of Dublin. With his wife away visiting a cousin, he’s to be interviewed by a student for a history PhD. of theirs, as they come to stay in his opulent home. This visit threatens to delve into some stuff he’d rather leave in the past, as old wounds are opened once again. Can he come to terms with it all? Where does the truth lie? What will become of Hinterland?

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