Brian Moore was born on 25 August 1921, in Belfast. His father, James Brian Moore FRCS, was a distinguished physician and devout Catholic. Moore was the second son of nine children, and the family lived in a grand house on Clifton Street. The local Orange order headquarters were located directly opposite their house.
Moore often quoted Francois Mauriac, who believed that the door closes at twenty for the writer because by then the writer's way of seeing and responding to events has already been determined by the forces and circumstances of their childhood.
As a young boy in the nursery at home, he used his vivid imagination to entertain his sisters by telling stories. In school he displayed a talent for essay writing - he used to earn himself sixpence for writing essays for his school friends.
Moore attended St Malachy's Grammar school, a fee-paying establishment for bright, middle-class Catholic boys. Despite pressures to conform, he was seen as a bright, independent and free-minded thinker. Moore left school in 1939, having failed his senior exams. He later criticised his schooling through his novels The Feast of Lupercal and The Emperor of Ice Cream.