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'That private box of miracles'

10 February 2017

‘Wonderfully, out of that private box of miracles that is a writer's life, I just wrote that sentence [that now opens the book]: "The method of laying out a corpse in Missouri sure took the proverbial cake."

The whole damn book was just lying in behind that sentence.' There followed ‘four or five joyous months where, for once in a decade, you are going down to your work room like a 22-year-old instead of a 61-year-old, and being very surprised...

My beautiful son came out as gay a few years ago. This young man, very beautiful, incredibly gifted, really lovely, gay. After a couple of years of misery, he said, "Dad, I'm gay", and I said, "Thank God, you can avoid all that heterosexual nightmare I've been through!" And you know, he's got a lovely boyfriend he's devoted to, and I'm looking at that like a disinterested observer of human nature and I'm thinking, "This is not something that needs our tolerance, this is something we should be tending towards. There is a magnificence here of soul'. And I suppose all that feeds into Thomas and John."

Sebastian Barry, author of Days without End, which recently won the Costa Award and which paints a fascinating picture of a slice of American history