Sean O'Brien

Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, playwright, anthologist, broadcaster, novelist and editor. He grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He has published seven collections of poetry to date, including the prize-winning Downriver (2007) and November (2011). His Collected Poems was published in 2012. 

His book of essays on contemporary poetry, The Deregulated Muse, was published in 1998, as was his acclaimed anthology The Firebox: Poetry in Britain and Ireland after 1945. His Newcastle Bloodaxe Poetry lectures were published as Journey to the Interior: Ideas of England in Contemporary Poetry (2012). He has edited a selection from Andrew Marvell (2011) and, with Don Paterson, The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems of Peter Porter (2010), and Train Songs: Poetry of the Railways (2013).

His collection of short stories, The Silence Room, was published by Comma in 2008. He has translated Dante's Inferno and the poems of Corsino Fortes. His plays include The BirdsLaughter When We're Dead, and Keepers of the Flame. His translation of Tirso de Molina's Spanish Golden Age comedy Don Gil of the Green Breeches was staged in Bath in 2013, and in London and Coventry in 2014.

He contributes to the GuardianThe Independent and the Times Literary Supplement. Radio work includes versions of Zamyatin's We, Greene's The Ministry of Fear and a Radio 4 documentary on Ted Lewis, the author of Get Carter

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. 

Publications by Sean O'Brien

The Silence Room

Chain-smoking alcoholics, warring academics, gothic stalkers and aspiring writers are just some of the visitors that browse the mysterious library at the heart of Sean O’Brien’s fiction debut.

Quartier Perdu

Second collection of short stories by the multi-award-winning poet, playwright and journalist Sean O’Brien.

Anthologies featuring Sean O'Brien


14 leading authors have here been challenged to write fresh fictional interpretations of what the uncanny might mean in the 21st century.


British and Polish novelists join screenwriters, poets, computer engineers, and artists, to celebrate and explore Lem’s legacy through short stories and essays.

Ellipsis 1: Comma Modern Shorts

Ellipsis is a new set of books celebrating the 'short story sequence' - that interlocking daisy-chain of narrative produced when stories knit together to form a continuum of character or theme.

Hyphen: an anthology of short stories by poets

Established and award winning poets from around Britian and the UK have been asked to 'interlope' into the unknown territory of the short - most of them for the first time and each bringing with them a new, poetic perspective as well as an intuitive feel for the snapshot's hidden narratives.


Covering a century of writing that arguably saw all the major short forms emerge, from Hawthorne's 'Twice Told Tales' to Kafka's modernist nightmares, these essays offer new and unique inroads into classic texts, both for the literature student and aspiring writer.

Newcastle Stories

Published in September 04, issue 1 Newcastle Stories 1, six established and award-winning Newcastle authors kick-started a unique new magazine series that featured anthologies of new work twice a year and free to readers of The Crack.

Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science

This anthology draws out and distills science’s love of narrative from a wide range of scientific disciplines, weaving theory into very human stories, and delving into the humanity of theorists and experimenters as they stood on the brink of momentous discoveries.


Short Stories from an A-Life Future

Collections edited by Sean O'Brien

The Man of the Crowd

In this new edition, Sean O'Brien introduces a selection of stories from the master of the American Gothic short story, as well as providing a specially written critical analysis on the form and style of Poe's writing.