Multi-award-winning Irish novelists Sebastian Barry and Kevin Barry and leading Irish poet and winner of the T S Eliot Prize Sinéad Morrissey
talk about their works and about contemporary Irish literature. What is the Irish voice in literature and poetry and where does it come from? The close-knit communities, the landscape, politics, music, religion? How has Irish history influenced its poetry and prose?
Sebastian Barry's latest novel A Thousand Moons is about memory and identity and is set in Paris, Tennesse, in the aftermath of the American Civil War, where the community is still riven by the legacy of the war. Sebastian Barry won his second Costa book of the year award with his last novel Days Without End. He has also twice been shortlisted for the Booker award.
Kevin Barry's latest novel Night Boat to Tangier is a tragicomic novel about sex, death, narcotics, sudden violence and old magic and about the mysteries of love. He is also author of the novels Beatlebone and City of Bohane. Barry is a winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize and the Lannan Foundation Literary Award.
Morrisey is a Northern Irish poet who won the T S Eliot prize for her fifth collection, Parallax
. Her most recent and sixth collection, On Balance,
won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. The collection is set against ecological and economic instability and looks back at some of the great feats of human engineering to reveal states of balance and imbalance that have shaped our history. It also addresses gender inequality and our inharmonious relationship with the natural world. Morrissey is director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts at Newcastle University.
The session is chaired by writer and critic Boyd Tonkin, who writes on arts and books for the Financial Times, the Economist and Spectator, and is special adviser to the Booker International Prize (which he chaired in 2016).