Julian Barnes

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Assistant: Eli Keren

Film, TV & Theatre

Agent: Anthony Jones
Assistant: Danielle Walker

Books

Julian Barnes' work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France, he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Medicis (for Flaubert's Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). In 1993 he was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the FVS Foundation of Hamburg. In 2011 he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature, and he won the Man Booker Prize for The Sense of An Ending. He lives in London. More information about Julian Barnes' work is available at www.julianbarnes.com.

For film, TV and theatre enquiries, please contact Anthony Jones at United Agents. 

Current publication:

THE NOISE OF TIME - Jonathan Cape - January 2016

The Sunday Times Number 1 Bestseller

'BARNES'S MASTERPIECE.' - OBSERVER

In May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now. And few who are taken to the Big House ever return.

So begins Julian Barnes’s first novel since his Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending. A story about the collision of Art and Power, about human compromise, human cowardice and human courage, it is the work of a true master.

 

Praise for THE NOISE OF TIME:

"A masterpiece of biographical fiction… A great novel, Barnes’s masterpiece… Exquisite, intimate detail. He has given us a novel that is powerfully affecting, a condensed masterpiece that traces the lifelong battle of one man’s conscience, one man’s art, with the insupportable exigencies of totalitarianism." (Alex Preston Observer)

"Barnes’s sombre, brilliant new novel opens with a scene like something from a story by Chekhov… Gleaming with intelligence and literary flair, this elegantly composed fictional meditation offers a fresh gloss on a musical genius’s collisions and collusions with power." (Peter Kemp Sunday Times)

"[Barnes is] a master of the narrative sidestep… Not just a novel about music, but something more like a musical novel… The story itself is structured in three parts that come together like a broken chord. It is a simple but brilliant device, and one that goes right to the heart of this novel." (Robert Douglas-Fairhurst The Times)

"A compelling novel about art and power, courage and cowardice, and the capriciousness of fate…Barnes brilliantly captures the composer’s conflicted state of mind…This book is only 190 pages long, but it packs an extraordinary emotional punch." (Sebastian Shakespeare Tatler)

"This is a slim novel about the big things: art, fear, Power…history’s farcical, tragic repetitions. It is also quite excellent." (Stephanie Cross Daily Mail)

 

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2008

Jonathan Cape

Notes'I don't believe in God, but I miss Him.' Julian Barnes' new book is, among many things, a family memoir, an exchange with his philosopher brother, a meditation on mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and a homage to the French writer Jules Renard. Though Barnes warns us that 'this is not my autobiography', the result is a tour of the mind of one of our most brilliant writers.

2015

CAPE

‘Flaubert believed that it was impossible to explain one art form in terms of another, and that great paintings required no words of explanation. Braque thought the ideal state would be reached when we said nothing at all in front of a painting. But we are very far from reaching that state. We remain incorrigibly verbal creatures who love to explain things, to form opinions, to argue... It is a rare picture which stuns, or argues, us into silence. And if one does, it is only a short time before we want to explain and understand the very silence into which we have been plunged.’

Julian Barnes began writing about art with a chapter on Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa in his 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters. Since then he has written a series of remarkable essays, chiefly about French artists, which trace the story of how art made its way from Romanticism to Realism and into Modernism.

Fully illustrated in colour throughout, Keeping an Eye Open contains Barnes’ essays on Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Fantin-Latour, Cézanne, Degas, Redon, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Braque, Magritte, Oldenburg, Howard Hodgkin and Lucian Freud.

2012

ATLANTIC

The Pedant's ambition is simple. He wants to cook tasty, nutritious food; he wants not to poison his friends; and he wants to expand, slowly and with pleasure, his culinary repertoire. A stern critic of himself and others, he knows he is never going to invent his own recipes (although he might, in a burst of enthusiasm, increase the quantity of a favourite ingredient). Rather, he is a recipe-bound follower of the instructions of others. It is in his interrogations of these recipes, and of those who create them, that the Pedant's true pedantry emerges. How big, exactly, is a 'lump'? Is a 'slug' larger than a 'gout'? When does a 'drizzle' become a downpour? And what is the difference between slicing and chopping?This book is a witty and practical account of Julian Barnes' search for gastronomic precision. It is a quest that leaves him seduced by Jane Grigson, infuriated by Nigel Slater, and reassured by Mrs Beeton's Victorian virtues. The Pedant in the Kitchen is perfect comfort for anyone who has ever been defeated by a cookbook and is something that none of Julian Barnes' legion of admirers will want to miss.

2012

Vintage

In these seventeen essays (plus a short story) the 2011 Man Booker Prize winner examines British, French and American writers who have meant most to him, as well as the cross-currents and overlappings of their different cultures. From the deceptiveness of Penelope Fitzgerald to the directness of Hemingway, from Kipling's view of France to the French view of Kipling, from the many translations of Madame Bovary to the fabulations of Ford Madox Ford, from the National Treasure Status of George Orwell to the despair of Michel Houellebecq, Julian Barnes considers what fiction is, and what it can do. As he writes in his preface, 'Novels tell us the most truth about life: what it is, how we live it, what it might be for, how we enjoy and value it, and how we lose it.

2013

CAPE

You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed…

In Levels of Life Julian Barnes gives us Nadar, the pioneer balloonist and aerial photographer; he gives us Colonel Fred Burnaby, reluctant adorer of the extravagant Sarah Bernhardt; then, finally, he gives us the story of his own grief, unflinchingly observed.

This is a book of intense honesty and insight; it is at once a celebration of love and a profound examination of sorrow.

2002

PICADOR

Eighteen witty and brilliant essays on France. Julian Barnes's long and passionate relationship with France began more than forty years ago. As a sceptical observer on family motoring holidays, assistant in a school in Brittany, student of the language and literature, author of Flaubert's Parrot and Cross Channel, he has criss-crossed the country and its culture.

1995

PICADOR

Since 1990, Julian Barnes wrote a regular 'Letter from London' for the New Yorker magazine. These already celebrated pieces cover subjects as diverse as the Lloyd's insurance disaster, the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher, the troubles of the Royal Family and the hapless Nigel Short in his battle with Gary Kasparov in the 1993 World Chess Finals. With an incisive assessment of Salman Rushdie's plight and an analysis of the implications of being linked to the Continent via the Channel Tunnel, LETTERS FROM LONDON provides a vivid and telling portrait of Britain in the Nineties.

Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2005

VINTAGE

Searching for clues, no one would ever guess that the lives of Arthur and George might intersect. Growing up in shabby-genteel 19th Century Edinburgh, Arthur is saddled with a father who is a disgrace and a mother he wants to protect. To his astonishment, his career as a self-made man of letters brings him riches and fame. He becomes one of the most famous men of his age. George grows up in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Forever an outsider, George is a man who needs and values rules. He becomes a solicitor in Birmingham. Then crisis upsets the uneasy equilibrium of both men`s lives. Arthur is knocked for a loop by guilt and other dishonourable emotions. George is put to the sorest test, accused of a horrible crime. And from that point on their lives weave together in the most profound and surprising way, as each man becomes the other`s salvation.

2011

CAPE

Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011.
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is retired. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove.

2011

CAPE

The stories in Julian Barnes’ long-awaited third collection are attuned to rhythms and currents: of the body, of love and sex, illness and death, connections and conversations. Each character is bent to a pulse, propelled on by success and loss, by new beginnings and endings. In ‘East Wind’ a divorced estate agent falls in love with a European waitress, but is tempted, despite his happiness, to investigate her past; in ‘The Limner’ a deaf painter discovers his patron’s likeness after spending time among his staff. Anchored off the coast of Brazil, Garibaldi spies his future wife through a telescope, and in ‘Marriage Lines’, a widower returns to a remote Scottish Island to relive a favourite holiday.

These are also lives in flux - in the ‘stages, transitions, arguments; incompatibilities which grow’ - as in the title story, where a man reflects on the break-up of his marriage, brought into new perspective by the actions of his parents; two writers, a ‘good team’, return from an event rehearsing familiar arguments; in ‘Gardener’s World’, a couple bond, fall out and bond again over flowers and vegetable patches.

Positioned in between are a series of evenings at ‘Phil & Joanna’s’, where among the topics of conversation – the environment, politics, the Britishness of marmalade, toilet graffiti and the perils of smoking – we witness the guests’ lives shift in sections over the course of a year.

1982

CAPE

Graham was an historian: he was meant to be an expert on the past. But there were aspects of it, he discovered, that couldn't be subdued, that simply carried on, lively and painful, as if they were the present. He began to mind. He minded very much indeed. While those around him look on - with concern, with contempt, with amusement - Graham's meticulous passion gradually begins to run out of control. Julian Barnes presents an unnerving version of sexual jealousy and shows it to be not just living, but reasonable, ordinary, funny, dangerous and consuming.

2004

CAPE

The characters in Julian Barnes' new collection of stories are growing old and facing the end of their lives - some with bitter regret, some with resignation and others still with raging defiance. In a collection that is wise, funny, clever and moving, Julian Barnes has created characters whose passions and longings are made all the stronger by the knowledge that, for them, time is almost at an end.

2000

CAPE

In this novel, the sequel to TALKING IT OVER, Julian Barnes revisits Stuart, Gillian and Oliver, using the same technique of allowing the characters to speak directly to the reader, to whisper their secrets and to argue for their version of the truth.

1996

CAPE

In these exquisitely crafted and turned stories spanning several centuries, Julian Barnes takes as his universal theme the British in France, our fascination with that country, our various and mixed reasons for being there and our sometimes ambiguous reception.

1992

CAPE

A novel about the most dramatic political downfall of our time - that of Eastern Europe. Stoyo Petkanov, the deposed Party leader of a former Soviet satellite country, is on trial. His adversary stands for the new ideals, the leader for the old or so one would think. But Petkanov is different. He has been given his day in court and he takes it with a vengeance, to the increasing discomfort and surprise of those around him.

1991

CAPE

This account of love's vicissitudes begins as a comedy of misunderstanding, then slowly darkens and deepens, drawing the reader into the quagmires of the heart.

1989

CAPE

A fictional history of the world in which stories echo each other as themes deepen and images recur. A stowaway aboard Noah's Ark gives us his account of the Voyage - a surprising, subversive one, quite unlike the official version - which explains a lot about how the human race has subsequently developed. A guest lecturer on a cruise ship in the Aegean has his work interrupted by a group of mysterious visitors who place him in a cruel dilemma. An ecclesiastical court in medieval France hears a bizarre case. Barnes creates a kaleidoscope of narrative voices - from fiction and fact, painting and snatches of autobiography - that comes slowly and compellingly into focus.

1988

CAPE

A sharp-edged satire of Englishness at the end of the 20th century, Barnes' novel follows visionary tycoon Sir Jack Pitman as he builds replicas of all the major tourist attractions on the Isle of Wight, from Stonehenge to Manchester United.

1986

CAPE

Barnes' novel charts the life of Jean Serjeant, from her beginnings as a naive, carefree country girl before the war through to her wry and trenchant old age in the year 2020. We follow her bruising experience in marriage, her questioning of male truths, her adventures in motherhood and, in China, we learn the questions she asks of life and the often unsatisfactory answers it provides.

1984

CAPE

WINNER OF THE PRIX MEDICIS. Which of two stuffed parrots was the inspiration for one of Flaubert's greatest stories? Why did the master keep changing the colour of Emma Bovary's eyes? And why should it matter so much to Geoffrey Braithwaite, a retired doctor haunted by a private secret? In FLAUBERT'S PARROT, Julian Barnes spins out a multiple mystery of obsession and betrayal (both scholarly and romantic) and creates an exuberant enquiry into the ways in which art mirrors life and then turns around to shape it.

1980

CAPE

A novel based around the experiences of a child growing up in the suburban area of North London served by the Metropolitan line.

Film, TV & Theatre