Barney Norris is a critically acclaimed playwright, poet and author. For his debut full-length play Visitors, which ran at that Arcola before transferring to the Bush in November 2014, he won the Critics Circle Award 2014 for Most Promising Playwright. He was also shortlisted for the prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Most Promising Playwright, the Writers Guild of Great Britain 2014 award for Best Play and the Best New Play Award at the Off West End Theatre Awards 2014. Visitors received rave star reviews in publications such as the Guardian, The Times, the Telegraph and the New York Times. His first non-fiction book Bodies Gone: The Theatre of Peter Gill was published by Seren in February 2014, and his first book of poetry, Falling, was published by Playdead Press. He is the co-artistic director of theatre company Up in Arms, and from the autumn of 2015 will be the Martin Esslin Playwright in Residence at Keble College, Oxford. He has a BA (Hons) from the University of Oxford and an MA (Hons) from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Barney’s debut novel, Five Rivers Met in a Wooded Plain, was published by Transworld (Doubleday) in April 2016 to critical acclaim, and was a Waterstones and Foyles Book of the Month. His second novel, Turning for Home, was published in January 2018.
For playwriting, Barney is represented by Rozzy Wyatt at Judy Daish Associates.
Turning for Home
by Barney Norris
Isn’t the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? People live in the space between the realities of their lives and the hopes they have for them. The whole world makes more sense if you remember that everyone has two lives, their real lives and their dreams, both stories only a tape’s breadth apart from each other, impossibly divided, indivisibly close.’
Every year, Robert’s family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, distant cousins – it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn’t want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met – and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Neither of them is sure they can face the party. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all.
As lyrical and true to life as Norris’s critically acclaimed debut Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, which won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards, this is a compelling, emotional story of family, human frailty, and the marks that love leaves on us.
Publisher: Transworld (Doubleday)
Publication date: 11th January 2018
Buy it here
FIVE RIVERS MET ON A WOODED PLAIN — Buy it here
‘There exists in all of us a song waiting to be sung which is as heart-stopping and vertiginous as the peak of the cathedral. That is the meaning of this quiet city, where the spire soars into the blue, where rivers and stories weave into one another, where lives intertwine.’
One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower – all facing their own personal disasters. As one of those lives hangs in the balance, the stories of all five unwind, drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small town life.
‘Wonderful…I was hooked from the first page. It’s the real stuff.’ – Michael Frayn
‘Deeply affecting’ – Guardian
PUBLISHER: Doubleday (Transworld)
PUBLICATION DATE: 21st April 2016
TO BODIES GONE: THE THEATRE OF PETER GILL
The first study of one of the most significant voices of modern international theatre, one of Wales’s leading writers, and one of the most compelling and beautiful bodies of artistic work in the last fifty years. Written by an assistant and friend with an intimate and personal knowledge of Gill’s processes and values, To Bodies Gone explores a career extraordinary in its consistency, developing the clear ideas set of early productions that reach extraordinary heights in the mature work. The principle theme is the aesthetic Gill introduced to theatre, and which has remained the bedrock of his work, in its various manifestations and developments across several decades. Norris terms this the ‘theatre of Van Gogh’ – just as Van Gogh stared at a pair of boots and revealed them as beautiful by the way he saw and by giving them the light of attention, so Gill’s work as a writer and director has consistently revealed the daily world as extraordinary. Analysing the phases of his career in broadly chronological, this study places Gill in the wider context of the theatre, providing a snapshot of theatre in the second half of the twentieth century and contributing new insights to the study of theatre history. To Bodies Gone includes chapters on Gill’s early work, influences (Lawrence, Chekhov, Beckett), his translations and adaptations (Lawrence, Chekhov, Wedekind, Faulkner), his directing career at the Royal Court, Riverside Studios, National Theatre and NT Studio, plus his major plays – Small Change, Kick for Touch, In the Blue, Cardiff East, The York Realist and his 2014 set at the Versailles peace conference. The result is a major study full of insight into Gill and into British Theatre.
PUBLICATION DATE: 27th February 2014