The play, which charts the troubled life of a man abandoned by his parents as a young boy, has won no shortage of critical plaudits.
Fellow playwright Simon Stephens described it as the best first play he's read and it has earned comparisons with the likes of Sarah Kane, herself no stranger to controversy.
But the colourful language and hard-hitting content matter, which broaches paedophilia, have divided audiences.
"I've been called lots of names by people storming out of the theatre but I think the worst I've had is Satan," says Sheridan.
"It's a bit of a Marmite play. There's a lot of bad language and some of the events the boy encounters are quite controversial, but ultimately it's about love and hope.
"If people can't see that and look beyond a few swear words it's more a judgment about them than me."
Despite the success of his debut play, Sheridan still considers himself 'primarily an actor' - he appeared in apocalyptic family drama A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky, at the Lyric Hammersmith, among other plays last year.
It was during a lean spell in his acting career, while working at a backstreet Manchester pub to tide him over, that he met the inspiration for Winterlong.
"This family used to pick their son up from school and take him to the pub most nights, where they would get really drunk and leave him to run around," he says. "One day they were so drunk I had to take them home in a taxi and I saw him carrying them upstairs.
"Whatever they put him through, he still had this amazing propensity for love"
Sheridan admits the boy is not the first character based on someone he met in a pub and recommends a trip to the boozer for any wannabe playwrights.
"Pubs are full of characters and when I'm struggling with writer's block I often head out for a drink and start earwigging on conversations."
Winterlong is at Soho Theatre until March 12. For tickets, priced £10-£20, visit www.sohotheatre.com or call the box office on 020 7478 0100.