Barry Unsworth, 1930–2012

Word comes today that Barry Unsworth died earlier this week at the age of 81. He leaves behind a catalog of work that inspires and humbles anyone who writes historical fiction and anyone who aspires to write humane fiction in general.

I had the great pleasure of hearing Mr. Unsworth speak and read from his work during the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar. I cannot claim any personal connection beyond spending several hours in rapt attention, but his work and his thoughts about the enterprise of historical fiction have been my daily companions ever since. And having heard him read, I have the gift of his voice narrating to me every time I pick up one of his novels.

This remembrance by Arlo Haskell offers links to an interview he conducted with Mr. Unsworth and several audio recordings from the 2009 Seminar.

To Haskell’s graceful words I can add only a sincere thank you.

[Posted 7 June 2012]

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