Last week saw Sebastian Barry give his inaugural lecture as Laureate for Irish Fiction at Dublin's Gate Theatre... and decided to open the lecture with a song from the current Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan.

The lecture, entitled The Lives of Saints, reflected on the people and writers who supported him along his writing journey, including his aunt Annie, Val Mulkerns, Benedict Kiely, Michael Hartnett, Leland Bardwell, Tom Murphy and Harold Pinter.  

Speaking about the lecture, Sebastian Barry said, "In forty years of writing and living, inevitably and often by mere accident, a writer encounters other writers. This lecture is an account of some of the singular individuals met in this way over the years, many no longer with us, but who hold strong places in memory, and constitute a kind of private reference for how to endure as a writer and indeed how to write."

Sebastian Barry is the second Laureate for Irish Fiction, and was awarded the honour by the Arts Council in early 2018, following Anne Enright. The Laureate for Irish Fiction promotes Irish literature nationally and internationally and encourage the public to engage with high quality Irish fiction.