Julian Barnes

On this date in 1946, Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England. He attended the City of London School, and graduated from Magdalen College in 1968 with a degree in modern languages. He became a reviewer and editor for the New Statesman and New Review in 1977, and worked as a television critic for the New Statesman from 1979 to 1986. Barnes has published 21 novels (some under the pseudonym of Dan Kavanagh), including Metroland (1980), A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (1989), England, England (1998) and Arthur & George (2005). He has received numerous awards for his work, most notably the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2011. Barnes married literary agent Pat Kavanagh in 1979, and was widowed in 2011 after Kavanagh died of a brain tumor.

Barnes is the author of Nothing to be Frightened Of, a memoir focusing on death and mortality. “I don’t believe in God but I miss him,” Barnes proclaimed in the opening sentence of Nothing to be Frightened Of. In a 2008 interview with Maclean’s magazine, he further explains, “I regard myself as a rationalist.”

“It is a bizarre thought that in this [U.S. 2008] presidential cycle we could have had a woman in the White House, we might have a black man in the White House, but if either of them had said they were atheists neither of them would have had a hope in hell.”

—Julian Barnes, interview with Maclean’s magazine, 2008.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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