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Yve Williams, née Morris,[1] popularly known as Alex Barclay[2] (born Bayside, Dublin, Ireland in 1974),[3] is a former Irish journalist turned crime writer. After qualifying at Dublin City University, she worked for magazines including U Magazine and the RTE Guide before turning to crime writing. She has published two novels in one series, six in another, and other books.

Alex Barclay
BornYve Morris
1974 (age 44–45)
Bayside, Dublin, Ireland
Pen nameAlex Barclay
OccupationFiction author, journalist
Alma mater
Home townDublin
GenreNovel, short story
SubjectCrime fiction
Notable works
Notable awardsIrish Crime Novel of the Year
Years active
  • 1992–2003 (journalist, prof. from 1996)
  • 2003–present (crime fiction)


Early lifeEdit

Morris was born in Bayside, Dublin, and attended Manor House School, Raheny. She studied journalism with French at Dublin City University, graduating in 1996. Her course included a period of study in France, at Nanterre University in Paris, when she lived in the 19th arrondissement with two friends, and worked part-time.[4] She later worked further in France.[1] Subsequently she also trained at the Gaiety School of Acting, afterwards appearing, for example, on television with Podge and Rodge.[1]


Morris started in journalism at 18,[5] and after graduation worked in areas such as construction and fashion and beauty journalism, and including roles as features editor[1] and deputy editor of U magazine, at one time Ireland's top-selling magazine for younger women, and another as fashion and beauty editor of the RTÉ Guide,[6] one of the highest circulation magazines in Ireland. Aside from writing, the work included interviews and supervision of photo shoots.[1] She was also employed on the multi-million euro iVenus online publishing project.[1] Morris also worked as an advertising[2] and corporate copywriter,[3] and on name generation,[1] and she was well-connected on Dublin's social scene.[7]


Writing approach and the Joe Lucchesi novelsEdit

In 2003 key elements of Darkhouse came suddenly to mind,[8] and after discussing a few paragraphs with her husband, Williams left the fashion publishing industry to write the novel. With three chapters written, a prominent London agent, Darley Anderson, expressed interest and Williams took six months of travelling time to finish the novel's first draft,[9] including a period at the Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat[10] in Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula, and with much of it written in Dunmore East, a seaside resort location similar to one of the main locales of the story. She put a strong emphasis on research, engaging experts from a lighhouse specialist to the Irish State Pathologist, Prof. Marie Cassidy.[2] Her agent conducted an auction secured a substantial two-book rights deal, and international rights sales quickly followed.

As Williams thought at the time that she would continue as a journalist and copywriter, and wanted to keep the two writing careers separate, she devised the pseudonym Alex Barclay, which she felt was "the sort of strong name a thriller writer might have."[2]

Darkhouse was the first of two novels featuring NYPD detective Joe Lucchesi. The book, set in Texas, New York and County Waterford, achieved strong reviews[2][11] and was sold to more than ten markets,[3] and translated into 18 languages.[12] It was the top-selling paperback in Ireland for a period.[12]

The author continued the practice of writing at least partly in remote locations, including a spell at Anam Cara for each published book.[13]

Her second novel, The Caller, also featuring NYPD's Joe Lucchesi, was released in 2007; it was marketed in some territories as Last Call. The author mentioned in a 2007 interview that her fourth book - after a third book featuring an FBI agent - would return to Lucchesi[14] but this did not transpire. However she restated in a 2014 interview that the Lucchesi character would return.[15] The Caller is Barclay's top-selling book to date in the UK / Ireland market.[16] After its publication, Barclay and her agent also secured a publisher contract for three more books.

Ren Bryce novelsEdit

Barclay's first novel about a female agent with a bipolar condition, Ren Bryce,[17] entitled Blood Runs Cold, was published in 2008, and she won the inaugural Crime Fiction Award, sponsored by Ireland AM, at the Irish Book Awards, for this.[18][19] Bryce works with an imaginary FBI group, the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force, based in Denver, Colorado. Five more books followed in this series, which has not concluded. The author continued a research-based approach for this series, with visits to the USA, including an invited visit to the FBI regional HQ in Denver.[20]

Youth fictionEdit

In 2013, Barclay released a novel for young adults, Curse of Kings. It was billed as the first of a series of six,[6] the Trials of Oland Born,[21] though no further titles in this series have been scheduled or published as of 2019, and in a 2016 interview, the author referred to the book in the singular.[22]

In July 2019 it was announced that a new book for younger readers was submitted, a diary-form novel, My Heart & Other Breakables: How I lost my mom, found my dad, and made friends with catastrophe, with a hardback publication date of March 2020, this being the first volume in a two-book deal with HarperCollins Childrens Books.[23]

Standalone novelEdit

A new book was announced by HarperCollins in 2019, and was launched on August 2 with an interview and reading at a joint event of the Skibbereen Arts Festival and the West Cork Literary Festival, at Liss Ard.[24] A novel, I Confess is promoted as a psychological thriller, on release August 22 in Ireland and the UK.[25]

Events and mediaEdit

Barclay has been on signing tours, as well as participating in literary and other festivals and events,[26] including the Waterford Writers Weekend,[27] and Electric Picnic.[28] Media appearances included an on-air interview on RTÉ TV's The Panel.[14]


As of July 2019 UK / Ireland sales per Nielsen BookScan (covering most outlets) of Barclay's crime novels had reached nearly 300,000 copies.[16]


NYPD Detective Joe Lucchesi

  1. Darkhouse (2005)
  2. The Caller (2007)

FBI Special Agent Ren Bryce

  1. Blood Runs Cold (2008)
  2. Time of Death (2010)
  3. Blood Loss (2012)
  4. Harm's Reach (2014)
  5. Killing Ways (2015)
  6. The Drowning Child (2016)

The Trials of Oland Born

  1. Curse of Kings (2013)

Short fiction

  1. Roadkill Heart in the Trouble Is Our Business anthology (New Island Press, ed. Declan Burke)[29]

Personal lifeEdit

Morris married Brian Williams, who was working in design, and production of commercials (TV ads), in 2000, when she was 25,[1] and became Yve Williams. The wedding took place at Kilquiggan, Co. Wicklow, and the couple settled in Sandymount on Dublin's coast.[9][30] Brian Williams did design work for local band U2 and many companies, and later also directed shorts, filming in Ireland, the UK, the US, and Ukraine, and winning a range of awards.[31][32]

Barclay moved to the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, in 2007,[33] and as of 2016 was living in the village of Eyeries near Pallas Strand and Coulagh Bay.[29]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Murphy, Judy May (28 October 2000). "Five Live". The Irish Independent. pp. 22–24.
  2. ^ a b c d e Harrison, Bernice (30 July 2005). "Out of the Dark". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Staff writer (uncredited), (Harper Collins interview series) (2011). "When crime does pay". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  4. ^ Toner, Niall (8 November 2015). "Non, je ne regrette rien about my fashion crimes in Paris". The Sunday Times.
  5. ^ "KillerFest 15 - Q&A with author Alex Barclay". Killer Reads. Retrieved 27 June 2019. I worked as a journalist from the age of eighteen ... twenty-eight when I started my first book - Darkhouse
  6. ^ a b Leonard, Sue (2 February 2013). "Children's fantasy is a world apart for Barclay". The Irish Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  7. ^ Murphy, Judy May (28 October 2000). "Five Live". The Irish Independent. pp. 22–24. Yve Morris, if you don't know her, you certainly know someone who does
  8. ^ Clayton-Lea, Tony (6 August 2010). "Cracking it on the dark side (interview)". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 May 2019. ...thriller-writing career ... benefitted from her former role as a journalist ... I .. remember .. in Galway, .. story came to me for Darkhouse. .. coffee shop, .. started handwriting it ...
  9. ^ a b "Novelist had to pinch herself". Books Ireland: 179. September 2005.
  10. ^ "Anam Cara Writer's and Artists's Retreat". Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  11. ^ Banville, Vincent (9 July 2005). "It's grim up north". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 May 2019. ...novel that rips along and shows great technique for a debut effort. Take my word for it, we'll hear more of young Barclay.
  12. ^ a b "Alex Barclay". Darley Anderson Literary Agency. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  13. ^ "A perfect place to write". The Irish Times. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2019. Irish crime writer Alex Barclay has spent time at the centre for each...
  14. ^ a b RTE TV. "Alex Barclay on RTE's The Panel Part 2 of 2". YouTube. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  15. ^ Condon, Susan (17 November 2014). "Beyond Harm's Reach: Susan Condon meets Alex Barclay". Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  16. ^ a b Mansfield, Katie (19 July 2019). "Crime writer Barclay signs two-book deal with HarperCollins Children's". The Bookseller. Retrieved 9 August 2019. As a crime writer, Barclay has sold a total of 296,900 books for £1.2m. through BookSCan, with her bestseller The Caller (Harper) at 78,682 copies sold
  17. ^ "Alex Barclay on "Killing Ways"". Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Double triumph for Barry at awards". The Irish Times. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2019. ... inaugural award, in what was described as “an extremely competitive category”, went to Blood Runs Cold by Alex Barclay
  19. ^ Brennan, Marjorie (19 March 2014). "Writers' workshop proves a novel experience for best-selling author". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  20. ^ Fitzpatrick, Richard (11 November 2014). "Writer Alex Barclay is a one woman crime spree". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Curse of Kings (The Trials of Oland Born) launch video". Youtube. HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 15 May 2019. The start of a thrilling fantasy series
  22. ^ Stephen, Boylan. "Interview with Alex Barclay, 2016". Youtube. Eason (booksellers). Retrieved 15 May 2019. I wrote a fantasy book for children
  23. ^ Mansfield, Katie (19 July 2019). "Crime writer Barclay signs two-book deal with HarperCollins Children's". The Bookseller. Retrieved 9 August 2019. HarperCollins Children's Books has signed a two-book deal with Irish crime writer Alex Barclay. ... UK and Commonwealth rights
  24. ^ "Alex Barclay in conversation with Peter Murphy". Skibbereen Arts Festival 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2019. ...will be reading from her forthcoming novel I Confess.
  25. ^ "Alex Barclay's Author Page". Facebook. HarperCollins UK and Ireland. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2019. standalone psychological thriller...
  26. ^ Walsh, Caroline (23 April 2011). "Writers reading their way around the country". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 May 2019. Irish Writers’ Centre ... Peregrine Readings, ... will travel all over the country in the coming weeks.
  27. ^ "Waterford writers weekend events annnounced". The Irish Times. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2019. Alex Barclay, author of ... will preside over a crime-writing workshop.
  28. ^ "Literary Tent lineup announced". Electric Picnic 2017. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2019. ...crime writer Alex Barclay talks about the bipolar nature of her fictional heroine, FBI Special Agent Ren Bryce...
  29. ^ a b Grenham, Sophie (1 September 2016). "Writer's Block With Alex Barclay". Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  30. ^ Harrison, Bernice (30 July 2005). "Out of the Dark". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 May 2019. a self-confessed homebird who was rarely apart from husband Brian Williams
  31. ^ "Fifteen exhibition opens". Leinster Express. 9 August 2006. p. 16. ... graduated from college 15 years ago, having studied for four years in Advanced Visual Communications / married to Yve / opened by Alex Barclay
  32. ^ "Fifteen Exhibition at Dunamaise". Leinster Express. 16 August 2006. p. 33. Brian Williams, who designed the cover of U2's Zooropa album, produced a video...
  33. ^ "Writer Alex Barclay is a one woman crime spree". Irish Examiner. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2019.

External linksEdit