Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities
Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford in 1955. He studied at University College Dublin and lived in Barcelona between 1975 and 1978. Out of his experience in Barcelona be produced two books, the novel The South (shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and winner of the Irish Times/ Aer Lingus First Fiction Award) and Homage to Barcelona, both published in 1990. When he returned to Ireland in 1978 he worked as a journalist for In Dublin, Hibernia and The Sunday Tribune, becoming features editor of In Dublin in 1981 and editor of Magill, Ireland’s current affairs magazine, in 1982. He left Magill in 1985 and traveled in Africa and South America. His journalism from the 1980s was collected in The Trial of the Generals (1990). His other work as a journalist and travel writer includes Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border (1987) and The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (1994).
His other novels are: The Heather Blazing (1992, winner of the Encore Award); The Story of the Night (1996, winner of the Ferro-Grumley Prize); The Blackwater Lightship (1999, shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Prize and the Booker Prize and made into a film starring Angela Lansbury); The Master (2004, winner of the Dublin IMPAC Prize; the Prix du Meilleur Livre; the LA Times Novel of the Year; and shortlisted for the Booker Prize); Brooklyn (2009, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year).
His short story collections are Mothers and Sons (2006, winner of the Edge Hill Prize) and The Empty Family (2010, shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor Prize). His play Beauty in a Broken Place was performed at the Peacock Theatre in Dublin in 2004. His other books include: The Modern Library: the 200 Best Novels Since 1950 (with Carmen Callil); Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush (2002); Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar (2002) and All a Novelist Needs: Essays on Henry James (2010). In 2011 his play Testament, directed by Garry Hynes, was performed in the Dublin Theatre Festival with Marie Mullen in the lead role. Also in 2011, his memoir, A Guest at the Feast was published by Penguin UK as a Kindle original. In 2012 his new collection of essays New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers & Their Families, was published. His most recent book isThe Testament of Mary.