I am interested in writing about the ways people find to cope with the anxieties, difficulties, failures, successes, and tedium of life and work. I like to explore the belief systems that keep them going, and their perceptions (true or false) about the world and others.
I am also interested in writing from unusual viewpoints—the doomed, flawed, or untrustworthy narrator for example. My most recent published prose works are a story about a young woman facing death with her oxygen supply about to run out, and a cycle of stories for children from the viewpoints of farm animals (the latter based on experience as a smallholder). My most recent published poem, a sestina, celebrates carrying ash from the wood burner to spread among the stones of the yard—a meditation on work and the seasons.
Meditation is central to my life. The discipline of Buddhist meditation practice, with its stages of application and absorption and its awareness of hindrances, is similar to the discipline of work in general. This wider theme is what I wish to explore in my next project, which I have thought about for some time but not had the opportunity to develop..
Much of my published work has sprung from living on a smallholding in the Welsh countryside, but also from travel. New places and settings free me from habitual modes of thinking and show me the ways people of other cultures approach life—sometimes strikingly different, sometimes surprisingly similar to my own.
Alex Barr in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?1946 Manchester
What do you love about short stories?When they're good they're very tasty and you can enjoy the variety. They're like tapas, which I often prefer to a full-on meal.T
Do you write in other forms?Poems, plays, even a novel
What distracts you from writing?Maintenance jobs
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Meditation, folk dance, badminton, walking, art
What is your favourite book?Kidnapped
Who are your favourite writers?Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust and John Updike
Where is your dream location?Fronrhydd Fach, Letterston
What one item would you put into Room 101?People who park on pavements
Do you have any advice for new writers?Don't give up.
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