Born: January 19, 1946 in Leicester, England
Educated: Magdalen College, Oxford
Genre: Fiction (novels, short stories) and non-fiction (essays and memoirs)
Literary Movement: Post-modernism
Best known for: The Sense of an Ending
Barnes tried his hand at a number of professions before writing novels, from lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary supplement, to television critic for the Observer.
Barnes’ first novel was called ‘Metroland’ and his mother complained that it was too filthy.
Barnes was shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize with ‘Flaubert’s Parrot’, ‘England, England,’ and ‘Arthur & George’ before winning in 2011 with ‘The Sense of an Ending’.
Barnes writes gritty crime fiction under the pseudonym, Dan Kavanagh.
Barnes is a francophile and has been rewarded for his contribution to raising the profile of French culture abroad and his love of France. Most recently on On 25 January 2017, the French President appointed Julian Barnes to the rank of Officier in the Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur.
Books by this author
Flaubert’s Parrot (1984) Geoffrey Braithwaite sets off to France to visit locations related to Flaubert, but finds there are two museums displaying Flaubert’s parrot. In Braithwaite’s quest to find the true parrot, Barnes’ novel explores subjectivity, futility and how we are all, ultimately, unknowable.
Arthur & George (2005) Barnes’ tenth novel, ‘Arthur & George’ follows famous Sherlock Holmes author, Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji, a solicitor and Vicar’s son. The novel explores how Doyle sought to exonerate Edalji for a crime he was wrongly imprisoned for.
The Sense of an Ending (2011) Following Tony Webster and his clique, and then returning to Tony in retirement, ‘The Sense of an Ending’ is a brief, melancholic and deeply profound meditation on ageing and memory.
The Noise of Time (2016) Set in Leningrad at the height of Stalin’s purges in 1937, ‘The Noise of Time’ is dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who fears his livelihood when Stalin denounces his work.
Join our April Book Club where our featured read of the month is The Noise of Time.