Celebrated children's writer Hans Christian Andersen arrives, unannounced, for a stay at Gad's Hill Place in the Kent marshes - home to Charles Dickens and his large, charismatic family.
To the lonely and eccentric guest, the members of Dickens' household seem to live a life of unreachable bliss. But with his broken English, Andersen doesn't at first see the storms brewing within the family: undeclared passions, a son about to go to India, and a growing strangeness at the heart of Dickens' marriage.
Andersen's English by Sebastian Barry premiered at the Theatre Royal, Bury, in February 2010 in a production by Out of Joint.
Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955 and educated at The Catholic University School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he was later Writer Fellow in 1996. His plays include Boss Grady's Boys (1988), The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), and The Pride of Parnell Street (2007), and his novels, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002), and most recently A Long Long Way (2005), which was the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2007 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Dublin International Impac Prize. He has won among other awards the Irish-America Fund Literary Award, The Christopher Ewart-Biggs Prize, the London Critics Circle Award, and The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize. He lives in Wicklow with his wife Ali and three children, Merlin, Coral and Tobias.