Kevin Barry

Bloodsports for all


We were asked by Sinéad Gleeson for the Irish Times who we’d pick as Laureate for Irish Fiction, and why. Our thoughts turned first to Groucho Marx (“I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member”), then to Austrian Nestbeschmutzer Thomas Bernhard who hated accepting honours and patronage so much he wrote a book on it – My Prizes.

Laughter in the dark


Kevin Barry on the Paris Review blog.

For a long time I was trying to be the next great Jewish American writer. You know, the next Saul Bellow or Philip Roth. This was in Cork city, Ireland. As a pale ginger twenty-something. It wasn’t working out all that well, but I do think you have to write out your influences.

I’ve never agreed with this idea that a writer “finds his voice” and then just sticks with it and drones on in that voice for forty years. That sounds like death to me. I tend to let the story dictate the style. Back then, I let my idea of what a great writer sounds like dictate my style. I wrote these great sententious sentences, clause after clause after clause, under a black belly of fucking cloud, and I’d end up thinking, “What is this? Who wrote this? Who is this guy?” It certainly wasn’t me.

[Via @nemoloris]