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What an honor to talk to one of the greatest living fiction writers, Kevin Barry. And to talk with him not about "how do you get your ideas?" or "what's your writing practice like"? But instead about witches, healers, fairies, violence,  the radical history of Ireland, and more.

Kevin's latest novel, The Night Boat To Tangier , was longlisted for the Booker Prize. His novel before that, Beatlbone follows John Lennon on a mystical vision quest to find an island off the Irish coast. It's a novel so strange and moving that you wouldn't have to even like The Beatles to be caught up in its weird web.Also, Kevin reads his absolutely brutal story, "A Cruelty" in his excellent, sinister Christian Bale-esque reading voice.

Apologies - the episode gets cut off just as we start discussing Twin Peaks. But we only spoke for about five more minutes after that. And besides, I'll have Kevin back on. This is a great conversation and I absolutely want to continue it.

We talk:

  • Kevin's superstitions
  • Animism and fiction
  • Irish writers and writers of the American South
  • how accents change fiction
  • How we add to the landscape as we walk through it
  • Writing and dreams
  • The fairies and The Pixies
  • When Kevin was healed by witchcraft before playing video games
  • The non-linearity of time
  • Primal scream therapy in Ireland
  • Evil's home in art


• More on Kevin: Everyone shoud read his book of stories, Dark Lies The Island (which "A Cruelty" is in). Each year, Kevin and his wife, Olivia Smith, edit a much-loved anthology called Winter Papers which features art, stories, poetry, and literature. There's also a movie based on Kevin's characters (but not the actual book!) called Dark Lies The Island, which features an incredible cast, including my Irish dad-crush, Pat Shortt. Here's a great recent interview with Kevin in The Paris Review. And here's Kevin's appearance on The Blindboy podcast (which you might remember me being on!); it's is mostly about the act of writing, and is really good

• To learn about embodied sacred places, check out Peter Nabokov's excellent book, Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places

• Grant Morrison's Bat-Mite appearances (pictured below) are in the amazing Batman arc, The Black Glove which is collected as a graphic novel.

• Read (briefly) about the roads project thwarted by the fairies; "Fairy bush survives the motorway planners."

• Here's more on the piseogs, which means superstitions, but by which Kevin also names the healers and witches.

• I have yet to read the revered Irish writer, John McGahern, but I'm very excited to. His best known novel is Amongst Women.

• I'm sure you love The Pixies, but if not, you'll love The Pixies. Here's "Debaser." (It's about my turbulent genius of a professor, Don Levine.)

Hans Gadamer said, “A horizon is something towards which we move, but it's also something that moves along with us."

• Scream therapy was developed by Arthur Yanov (loosely based on Wilhelm Reich's work - I have a great intro his work on AEWCH 59 ) and primal scream therapy is featured in The Family by Bob Quinn and the BBC special, The Silence and the Screen.

David Milch, writer of Deadwood, was recently interviewed about having alzheimer's.

That's it for now folks. Until next time, mind the piseogs!


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