Sebastian Barry’s haunting story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, yet still marked by love, passion and hope.
Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future. The psychiatric hospital where she’s spent most of her adult life is preparing to close. In the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks for hours to her psychiatrist. The story that emerges - of Roseanne’s family in 1930s Sligo - is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, her story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland’s changing character.
He makes enthrallingly beautiful prose out of the wreckage of these lives by allowing them to have the complication of actual history in all its messy elusiveness
Sebastian Barry was named Laureate for Irish Fiction for 2018 to 2021. As part of his work, he ran a series called #LaureateReads on YouTube in 2020, where he chose four of his novels to read from.
Watch his reading from The Secret Scripture below.