Journalist, playwright, writer and Host of the Shoreditch House Literary Salon, Damian Barr is at the forefront of cultural change. Author of well-reviewed book Maggie & Me, Damian tells his heart-rendering story. Now a prominent literary figure, hosting many literature conversations and book clubs, Damian is a prominent speaker on cultural trends. Damian is an accomplished host and keynote speaker, a delightful addition to any event.
Damian Barr tells stories. Some are true. Some just might be. He is a journalist, Radio 4 playwright, Host of the Shoreditch House Literary Salon and cultural entrepreneur. Here’s his story—it is true.
Recruited by the Times straight out of university, Damian is dedicated to discovering new cultural and social trends, people and places. He has convinced Sir Terence Conran to kiss Philippe Starck, cooked a 32-bird roast with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and had a manicure with Paris Hilton’s mother. He reported on New Orleans one year after Hurricane Katrina and on the ever-flooding state of Venice. He has written for a variety of papers and magazines and has been shortlisted for a British Press Award.
His first Times column formed the basis of his first book. ‘Get It Together’ was first to explore the now widely recognized ‘quarterlife crisis’. Serialized in the Times it was featured on Richard & Judy before being published globally. Julie Burchill then described Damian as ‘the new ringmaster for the Jerry Springer Generation’. Damian’s next book was a memoir about Thatcher.
On BBC Radio Scotland Damian has so far presented two conversational series. ‘Fortune Tellers’ told stories of people who won and lost fortunes. For ‘You’ll Have Had Your Tea Then’ he hosted an imaginary dinner party. Damian has also co-written two well-reviewed plays for BBC Radio 4.
Damian continues making headlines from the New York Times to the Times of India for his pioneering role as the world’s first ever reader-in-residence. A sort of pyjama-clad literary call-boy, he recently got into bed with Justin from the Today program for a bit of Dickens. He now spends a few weeks a year staying in hotels reading novels aloud to guests. This activity got him shortlisted for an Arts & Business Award for Innovation and brought him to the attention of the RSA who recently invited him to become a Fellow.
As Creator & Host of the Shoreditch House Literary Salon, Damian has opened a new chapter for the UK’s live literary scene reaching new audiences and challenging existing ones. Exclusive but not excluding, the sessions are free to attend thanks to Damian’s deft sponsorship arrangements.
In 2011 Damian launched the Hay Festival at a special Salon. The British Council recognises the Salon’s unique ability to reach new audiences and is partnering with Damian world-wide starting with Moscow.
In 2010 Damian was a ‘celebrity’ judge for the Orange Prize and also helped judge the first Fiction Uncovered initiative with the Guardian and Waterstones. He just established a writer-in-residence scheme for writers redefining the liberal tradition at Gladstone’s Library—the UK’s only residential library.
Also fascinated by film, Damian runs www.silent-cinema.co.uk and www.starliteurbandrivein.co.uk both of which are about enjoying movies in new ways and new places. Damian is on Faculty at the School of Life where he hosts sold-out Conversation Drinks and Dinners. He is also a Fellow of The British American Project and on the Board of Brighton Festival Fringe where he has attracted record sponsorship for the world’s third largest Fringe.
Host of A Book and Bottle series, Damian combines his two great passions in a book club complete with boozy add ons. Damian’s new endeavour comes coupled with a monthly column, ensuring he retains his specialist status as cultural innovator.
Damian Barr is an accomplished and fascinating keynote speaker, journalist and literary innovator.
- TV/Radio presenter