I took this photo of Barry at Edinburgh Book Festival 2011. Some of the characters there are so strong and simply wonderful for photographing. It is as if they express their stories through the lens. Barry was certainly one of them and he fixed you with his Irish eyes.
Barry won the Sunday Times Short Story Award 2012 for his story Beer Trip to Llandudno.
He says that he writes best early in the morning when he is ‘half asleep and half awake. You are less self conscious and your not afraid to embarrass yourself, and that’s the good stuff.‘ He writes the first draft longhand, ‘It’s to slow down the rate at which the sentences are emerging. It is easy to mistake fluency for inspiration.’
‘If you can get how a character speaks, you get their soul.’ ..For me the imperative is to get characters speaking and to listen to what they are not saying as much as what they are.’
His literary heroes include VS Prichard ; ‘He worked form the ear, from the way people speak and I felt an affinity with that.’
Barry advocates keeping it real, ‘I’m old school. Never in my life have I attended a creative writing class, I kind of react against it. I think it’s a bit of an industry.’
‘I write 10 or so a year and only one or two that will be any cop at all.’ It’s an art form that takes a lot of work and a lot go practice. ‘