- Broadcaster BBC Radio 4
- Host and creator of Damian Barr’s Literary Salon
- Columnist at Big Issue, High Life
- Award-winning Author – ‘Maggie and Me’
- Founder: readingweekend.co.uk
Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, journalist, and host of his own infamous Literary Salon home at The Savoy, London. ‘One of the most well-connected men in publishing’ says the Guardian.
‘Maggie & Me’, published by Bloomsbury, was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and the Sunday Times made it their Memoir of the Year. It won the Paddy Power Satire of the Year Award 2014 and Stonewall named Damian their Writer of the Year. Described as ‘genius’ by Maggie O’Farrell and ‘amazing’ by Diana Athill, it was featured in the Books of the Year in the Observer, Times, Sunday Times, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Mail, Metro and Evening Standard. “There isn’t a trace of bitterness in the beautiful book. Only the radiant eloquence of a man whose courage and humanity shine from its pages,” said Alan Johnson in New Statesman Books of the Year.
Damian has since taught several six-month long UEA-Guardian Memoir Masterclasses and undertakes private mentoring and editing commissions. He recently finished his first novel to be published next year.
Permanently in search of the perfect martini, he wrote the BarrFly drinks page for the Sunday Times magazine. Now he also enjoys a glass of wine or two with his new project A Book and A Bottle, pairing wine with books at live events and podcasts. He covers politics and culture in his monthly Big Issue column and has been a columnist for Attitude. Shortlisted for a British Press Award, he’s written regularly for the Times since graduating. For them he has tracked down and interviewed Cheetah the Chimpanzee, cooked a 32-bird roast with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and explored post-Katrina New Orleans. He has also written for the Independent, the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph and Evening Standard as well as GQ, Harpers, Glamour, Red, Country Life and Psychologies.
His first book, based on a Times column about being a twentysomething, made the quarterlife crisis into a household term. Featured on Richard & Judy, his book helped define a generation and launch a debate that’s still raging. Julie Burchill describes him as ‘the new ringmaster for the Jerry Springer Generation’.
As host of his own Literary Salon for over seven years, Damian tempts world-famous writers to premiere their new books and reveal all in an interview with him. Guests include Bret Easton Ellis, David Nicholls, Helen Fielding, Diana Athill, Taiye Selasi, Janice Galloway, John Waters, Jojo Moyes, SJ Watson, Lionel Shriver and Naomi Alderman. The Salon partners with events such as Hay, Cheltenham, the British Council and the Man-Booker Prize. The Salon started at Shoreditch House and is now home at The Savoy, London. It has toured to Brighton, Moscow, Toronto, New York, Edinburgh, Brighton, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland and Sydney. It is regularly a top ten literature podcast on iTunes and is featured in-flight entertainment on British Airways.
Damian has co-written two afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4. He made headlines from the New York Times to the Times of India as the world’s first ever reader-in-residence. For a few weeks every year, he dons his pajamas and moves into a hotel where he reads stories aloud to guests.
Faculty at the School of Life and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Damian sits on the boards of: Brighton Fringe, Gladstone’s Library and the Ministry of Stories (Brighton). He is a Patron of the child protection charity Children 1st and a supporter of Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust.
He lives with his husband by the sea in Brighton where they keep chickens.
Honors & Awards
Honoured as an Associate Artist alongside Fay Weldon and Mark Ravenhill New Writing South June 2015
Damian Barr is joining NWS as an Associate Artist, a small highly regarded group of writers who reflect the range of work NWS does and demonstrate the level of talent and professionalism that we encourage all writers to aspire to. He join a roster featuring John Agard, Dean Atta, Polly Dunbar, Alison MacLeod, Mark Ravenhill, Fay Weldon and Stephen Wyatt.
NATIONAL CONSUMER TRAVEL FEATURE OF THE YEAR
Travel Media Awards November 2015
‘On Sky Safari Across New Zealand’ by Damian Barr in The Sunday Times Magazine has just won NATIONAL CONSUMER TRAVEL FEATURE OF THE YEAR in the Travel Media Awards..
Shortlisted for Writer of the Decade by Stonewall
Stonewall November 2015
The evening was hosted by Sir Ian McKellen and the award was presented by Evan Davis to the fantastic Sarah Waters. The other writers shortlisted were Val McDermid, Stella Duffy & Alan Hollinghurst.
The 100 People Who Make Brighton & Hove What It Is
Brighton & Hove Independent Newspaper June 2015
Delighted to be named alongside Caroline Lucas MP, Julie Burchill and 97 others as one of the 100 people who help make Brighton & Hove.
Named as one of the 100 most influential Scots in the List magazine’s ‘Hot 100’
The List – Scotland’s top culture and arts magazine December 2014
The Hot 100 is The List’s annual celebration of the figures who’ve contributed most to the cultural landscape during the year. From chefs and theatre-makers to writers and musicians, you’ll find them here.
The Rainbow List
The Independent on Sunday November 2014
Damian joins Evan Davis, Sue Perkins, Tom Daly, Paris Lee, Patrick Strudwick and many others on this list of the 101 LGBT people who ‘make a real difference’. This is a pioneering list and attracts thousands of deserving nominations. Recognised for his Salon, my memoir and his work on Front Row. A pioneering intitiative from The Independent on Sunday.
The Political Humour and Satire Book of the Year
The Paddy Power Political Book Awards in Association with Politicos.co.uk
March 2014 Damian won!
This is what they say: “The Political Humour/Satire Book of the Year Award will be presented to the author of most witty and/or intelligently satirical political book of the year. The book should be able to raise a smile whilst also conveying a serious and thought-provoking political message. It will be original, entertaining and above all it will make the judges and the reader laugh.
Memoir of the Year
The Sunday Times December 2013
Appearing alongside memoirs from Alan Johnson, Malala and Julian Barnes, Maggie & Me was named as the Sunday Times Memoir of the Year: “The writing is beautiful, the evocation of his childhood tender and affectionate, the summoning up of a particular time and place pin-sharp. A poignant and often humour memoir, full of energy and life.”
Writer of the Year
Stonewall November 2013
Last year’s winner was Jeanette Winterson and this year’s winner is…Damian! Stonewall Writer of the Year 2013.
Taking place in the magnificent Raphael Gallery of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Stonewall Awards celebrates the outstanding contribution of individuals and groups towards equality over the past year.
Damian is represented for his literary work by Clare Conville at Conville & Walsh. For all book enquiries please contact Clare here.