Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth (born 8 August 1930) is a British novelist who is known for novels with historical themes. He has published 15 novels, and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times, winning once for the 1992 novel "Sacred Hunger".

Unsworth was born in Wingate, a mining village in Durham, England. He graduated from the University of Manchester in 1951, and lived in France for a year teaching English. He also traveled extensively in Greece and Turkey during the 1960s, lecturing at the University of Athens and the University of Istanbul. In 1999 he was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa's renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2004 he taught literature and creative writing classes at Kenyon College in Ohio. He currently lives in Umbria, Italy.

His first novel, "The Partnership", was published in 1966. "Pascali's Island" (1980), the first of his novels to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is set on an unnamed Aegean island during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. The novel was later adapted as a film by James Dearden, starring Charles Dance, Helen Mirren, and Ben Kingsley as the title character. "Morality Play", shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1995, is a murder mystery set in 14th-century England, and was adapted as a film, called "The Reckoning", starring Paul Bettany and Willem Dafoe.

"Sacred Hunger" (1992) centers on the Atlantic slave trade that moves from Liverpool to West Africa, Florida and the West Indies. It was joint winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1992, along with Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient".

Other novels include "Mooncranker's Gift" (1973) (winner of the Heinemann Award), "Stone Virgin" (1985), and "Losing Nelson" (1999).


* "The Partnership" (1966)
* "The Greeks Have a Word For It" (1967)
* "The Hide" (1970)
* "Mooncranker's Gift" (1973)
* "The Big Day" (1976)
* "Pascali's Island" (1980) (originally published as "The Idol Hunter")
* "The Rage of the Vulture" (1982)
* "Stone Virgin" (1985)
* "Sugar and Rum" (1988)
* "Sacred Hunger" (1992)
* "Morality Play" (1995)
* "After Hannibal" (1996)
* "Losing Nelson" (1999)
* "The Songs of the Kings" (2002)
* "The Ruby in her Navel" (2006)
* "Land of Marvels" (forthcoming January 2009)

External links

* [ 2008 interview with LITTORAL: the blog of the Key West Literary Seminar]

NAME= Unsworth, Barry
SHORT DESCRIPTION= English novelist
DATE OF BIRTH= August 10, 1930
PLACE OF BIRTH= Wingate, Durham, England

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