Literary Birthday – 17 November – Marina Carr

Happy Birthday, Marina Carr, born 17 November 1964.


  1. The moral police will be the death of art. Political correctness is destroying our literature and our poetry. There is a place for the moral high ground, but it is not art. You can’t have the thought police looking over your shoulder when you are writing a play. You have to let the characters have their say. Plays are written with the imagination, not with the head.
  2. The world is so old, and sometimes it’s very difficult to find anything new, in a way there might be variations on the theme, but these myths capture the human condition and capture the most powerful and most extreme and most immediate, so they are powerful stories. They hold us.
  3. I wouldn’t dream of attempting to write a comedy. I know it would be a disaster. But I do think my plays are funny, that they find the humour in the tragic. I am quite surprised when critics only see the doom and gloom.
  4. When I was a younger playwright I would have had some sort of structure and wouldn’t always stick to it. But now I tend not to at all. I tend to spend more time thinking about it before I start writing. I don’t necessarily want to nail down the structure in advance.
  5. My plays are about people and how they are behaving and what they are doing and how that shapes the way they live or don’t live.
  6. Character would always be my theme, so I wouldn’t try and convey a big message idea in my work, or what I consider to be an idea, as ideas are incredibly abstract, and people are not abstract. We are flesh and bone and not terribly rational creatures, we are sentient creatures, we feel everything first.
  7. I find the older I get it’s the language that pulls me along, and if I find a particular metaphor or image and start chasing it down, that becomes plot as much as anything else.

Marina Carr is an award-winning Irish playwright. Marina’s plays are widely published and include By the Bog of CatsPortia Coughlan, and Woman and Scarecrow. She was awarded a McCauley Fellowship, the American/Ireland Fund award, and an E.M. Forster Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She won the Windham-Campbell Prize worth $165,000 in 2017.

Author photo here

source 1 and source 2 for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 17th November 2017