The 5-minute Interview: Sebastian Barry, Playwright and novelist

'One opening night I was so anxious I fled over the seats'
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The Independent Online

Sebastian Barry, 52, is an Irish writer whose 2005 novel, 'A Long Long Way', was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His new play, 'The Pride of Parnell Street', is at London's Tricycle Theatre until 22 September.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

In my car steaming into Dublin for a rehearsal for my new play.

I wish people would take more notice of...

The way we are all connected.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

My wife agreeing to marry me, and also the 22 years that we have been together; every day is a surprise.

A common misperception of me is...

One thing I noticed in an article was that someone described me as "aloof". Maybe that is the impression I give, but really I think I'm just odd.

I am not a politician but...

I would like to think that I would be one of the politicians who would make a stand against the things I felt were wrong. But politics is so corroding I'm sure it would corrupt me too.

I'm good at...

If I were good at anything I would have a proper job!

I'm very bad at...

An absolute multitude of things. I'm particularly bad at dealing with the prospect of things. If my wife is having a dinner party she won't tell me who's coming, or sometimes that we are having one at all. I always panic before the guests arrive. The same applies to my plays; I'm very bad with opening nights. Once I actually made an escape for it over the seats because I was so anxious.

The ideal night out is...

Many years ago at Christmas, at a time when my wife and I were rather poor, we were walking past the Trocadero restaurant in Dublin. A waiter from inside came out and called us in and fed us a free meal of cake and sambuca as a kind gesture. It was a very memorable night.

The best age to be is...

My twenties were a disaster, thirties lovely, forties grim and fifties lovely.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

I'm not a great believer in philosophy. Sometimes life is so sad and so wonderful I don't know if you can say much more than "take it as it comes".

Gaby Aung

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