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  • Published: 6 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473511033
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

Young Skins

A magnificent, critically acclaimed collection of stories from Ireland's most exciting young writer


'One of the best books of the past decade... The characters are edgy, often violent, locked into a world described in ways that are both harsh and tender. . . Adds a sense of myth, even a spiritual aura, to the narrative that lifts the meanness of the circumstances into some other realm' Colm Tóibín, Washington Post

*Winner of the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
*Winner of the 2014 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature

This magnificent collection takes us to Glanbeigh, a small town in rural Ireland - a town in which the youth have the run of the place. Boy racers speed down the back lanes; couples haunt the midnight woods; young skins huddle in the cold once The Peacock has closed its doors. Here the young live hard and wear the scars. It matters whose sister you were seen with. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it matters a very great deal.

Colin Barrett's debut does not take us to Glanbeigh alone; there are other towns, and older characters. But each story is defined by a youth lived in a crucible of menace and desire - and each crackles with the uniform energy and force that distinguish this terrific collection.

  • Published: 6 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473511033
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

About the author

Colin Barrett

Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo. His stories have been published in The Stinging Fly, Granta, Harper’s and the New Yorker. His first book, the short story collection Young Skins, won the 2014 Guardian First Book Award, the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the 2014 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. In 2018 Barrett was selected as the Rolex Arts Initiative protege in Literature. His debut novel is forthcoming from Jonathan Cape.

Also by Colin Barrett

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Praise for Young Skins

Magnificent...A stunning debut... The timeless nature of each story means this collection can - and will - be read many years from now.

Sunday Times (Ireland)

The best collection we'll read all year: a massive new talent, and stories that will make you yearn and nod and cry.


He bends language to expose new angles.

Irish Times

Exciting and stylistically adventurous.

Colm Toibín, Irish Times

Colin Barrett's sentences are lyrical and tough and smart, but there is something more here that makes him a really good writer. His stories are set in a familiar emotional landscape, but they give us endings that are new. What seems to be about sorrow and foreboding turns into an adventure, instead, in the tender art of the unexpected.

Anne Enright

Colin Barrett is a young man in the town of the short story, but it's fair to say he has the run of the place. This is a joyously fine collection, crackling with energy and verve, fit for the back pocket of anyone who loves a good story well told.

Jon McGregor

Language, structure, style - Colin Barrett has all the weapons at his disposal, and how, and he has an intuitive sense for what a short story is, and what it can do.

Kevin Barry

Should you be surprised that yet another superbly articulate and word-drunk writer has come out of Ireland? Perhaps not; but when that writer's work is as moving, as funny, as spectacularly evocative as Young Skins, you should be astonished, and amazed, and grateful. Some of the stories in this debut collection are amongst the best in the language. That a young writer possesses a talent this great is a cause for celebration, matched only by his ability to control and harness it. A minute after finishing this book I was itching to read Colin Barrett's next.

Niall Griffiths

Colin Barrett is a writer of extraordinary gifts. I loved this compelling and utterly persuasive collection, the strongest debut I've read in some years.

Joseph O'Connor

Incredible. Human violence, beauty, brilliance of language - this book reminds you of the massive things you can do in short fiction.

Evie Wyld

A new fabulous and forensic voice to sing out Ireland's woes.

Bernard MacLaverty

[Barrett's] stories invite second readings that - the mark of really good work - seem to uncover sentences that weren't there the first time around... Throughout this extraordinary debut, but particularly in the excellent stories that bookend it, Colin Barrett is asking the right questions.


An exciting debut... Electric.

Sunday Times

Barrett excels at scenarios rich in moral and emotional complications and his finely wrought sentences crunch and snap with hard-bitten lyricism.

Anthony Cummins, Metro

Freakishly good... Barrett's astonishingly mature stories windmill with violent abandon into our time.

Stuart Hammond, Dazed Digital

How dare a debut writer be this good? Young Skins has all the hallmarks of an instant classic. His vision is sharp, his wit is sly, and the stories in this collection come alive with that ineffable thing - soul.

Alison MacLeod

A triumph.

Memphis Barker, Literary Review

A debut short story collection that captures what it's like to be young in rural Ireland in 2014.

Tom Gatti, New Statesman

Barrett's details shine like diamonds in a coal scuttle.

Max Liu, Independent

'[Barrett] cuts across all kinds of boundaries of class and education to produce immensely tender portraits of living characters.

Anne Enright, Irish Examiner

This is an exceptional debut, and one of the best collection of short stories that I have read in years.

Louise O'Neill, 5 stars, Irish Post

An exciting debut

Sunday Times

I don't think I've ever read a better collection by somebody I had never heard of

William Leith, Evening Standard

A technically-assured collection that never disappoints

Country & Town House

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