There is a distinct characteristic that Ireland has, which enables such a tiny country to create such an abundance of great writers not only through past generations but right up to the present day. Best selling authors of every genre emerge almost daily, continuing the proud tradition of so many past Irish writers of genius.

Whether it is the idyllic landscape, the ever changing weather, or some unique  combination of thought, emotion or language that inspires them, the Irish certainly have this literary gift to intrigue, delight and fascinate the readers of the world.

Because we are so familiar with the great Irish writers of the past, I have created this little feature to highlight the contemporary writers of present day Ireland. Who would be brave enough to say that they are in any sense inferior to the literary icons that have departed? Not me. I would go so far as to say that in years to come those modern Irish writers will be  read, remembered and commemorated as those of the past.

So, I have compiled a list and an individual profile of my top 50 living Irish writers. It is not a chart from 1-50 and just because they appear high in the list does not mean that I am showing preference. It is only a selection of my favourite Irish writers of today and my way of recognising their great talent, their painstaking work, and their contribution to the enjoyment of books and reading around the world.


Sebastian Barry


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Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His novels and plays have won, among other awards, the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, the Costa Book of the Year award, the Irish Book Awards Best Novel, the Independent Booksellers Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He also had two consecutive novels, A Long Long Way(2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008), shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. He lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.

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Winner of the 2016 Costa Book of the Year
Winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017
Winner of the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award 2017
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017

‘Pitch perfect, the outstanding novel of the Year.’ Observer

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Having both fled terrible hardships, their days are now vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Then when a young Indian girl crosses their path, the possibility of lasting happiness seems within reach, if only they can survive.


‘Days Without End’ was undoubtedly Sebastian’s greatest triumph.  He is noted for his dense literary writing style and is considered one of Ireland’s finest writers.



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