The Word On: Sebastian Barry

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The Independent Culture

"Why did the Costa jury feel the need to wrist-slap Sebastian Barry even as they gave him the prize? Sour grapes or something more?Despite Barry's gracious acceptance of the prize, it must have been like getting a wonderful present, but one that had been hastily wrapped, with the receipt still attached and someone else's name – crossed out – left on the card."

George (

"It's a powerful book, beautifully written and, I think, important in allowing voices from Irish history that have been drowned out over the years to have their say and tell their stories. But the ending is a strangely neat wrap of a story compelling for its lack of same... It does seem a strange decision on the part of the judges... one that takes away from Barry's long-awaited day."

Fiona (

"Sligo is still home to me although I left a long time ago. I can recall, with affection, many of the famous haunts mentioned in the book: Woolworths, sadly now closing down, The Cafe Cairo... Strandhill Beach – standing almost naked and as Seb says 'goosepimples upon goosepimples', shivering behind our little Prefect with the number IN 7373 (this was our first car)...Just thinking about Sligo has cheered me up."

Bibi 49 (