Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in The Irish Examiner on October 19th
Beginner’s Pluck. Colin Barrett
Colin can’t remember a time when he wasn’t writing. He read randomly, too.
“There weren’t many books in our house, but I remember reading The English patient at thirteen. I didn’t understand it all, but I was fascinated by the language and kept reading.”
After college, Colin worked for Vodafone for five years, but all that time he read widely, absorbing influences, and experimenting with writing. He left work to take a Masters in Creative Writing, completing four short stories that year.
“Two were published by the end of the course, and Declan Meade of The Stinging Fly said he would be interested in publishing a collection.”
Date of birth: April 1982, in Canada.
Education: St Muredachs College in Ballina, Mayo. UCD, English. UCD Masters in Creative Writing. (2008.)
Family: Girlfriend, Lucy Perrem; parents, and four younger brothers.
The Day Job: Fulltime writer. “I was working until June, on and off.”
Interests: Football. “Playing as well as watching. I find it therapeutic. I play twice a week.”
Favourite Writers: Influences have been, Kevin Barry; Flannery O’Connor; Barry Hannah and David Foster Wallace.
Second Novel: “I’m working on a novel.”
Top Writing Tip: Don’t be afraid of overwriting in your first draft; you can always cut it back.
The Debut: Young Skins. The Stinging Fly:€12.99. Kindle: Available soon.
Set in a fictional town in County Mayo, these stories examine the minutiae of the lives of the young in post-boom Ireland. Superbly observed, many show the vulnerability of young men compared to the relative strength of the women.
Tug is obsessed with the case of a missing child; Bat fears socialising after a random attack leaves him with a messed-up face and constant headaches; Doran and Eli take refuge in a pub, reluctant to attend a funeral of a women they both loved.
The Verdict: Every sentence counts in these mesmerising stories from an exciting new literary author. Although vicious, they show a tender side of humanity.