Colm Toibin has excelled in many forms of writing: the novel, the short story, the essay and journalism. And now there's Colm Toibin the poet, as recently evidenced in the Times Literary Supplement.
The poem published by the weekly journal is entitled Cush Gap, 2007 (the particular Wexford location will be familiar to close readers of Brooklyn and other Toibin fiction), and it runs to a resonant four lines:
All night the sea-wind makes clear
Its deep antipathy to this house
Whose foundations I will steer
Tomorrow on a different course.
Are we to expect more poems in the same suggestive vein? And is it time for Seamus Heaney to move over?
How are things in Gloccamara? A review in the Guardian two weeks ago of 34-year-old Londoner James Mylet's debut novel, Lex, announced that it was set in "the fictional town of Clifden on Ireland's west coast."
This occasioned a letter to the editor from surprised Warwickshire reader Sam Sexton, who declared that "if Clifden is fictional, I must be a character in literature, as I've spent two holidays there."
With its prize of €25,000 to the winner, the occasionally awarded Davy Byrne's short story prize is in a financial class of its own, but budding fiction writers may wish to know that Manchester University's Writing School is offering a cool £10,000 for a short story that it deems to be outstanding.
To qualify for this Manchester Fiction prize, overseen by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, all you have to do is submit a story of no more than 3,000 words by August 12. Further details can be had by going to www.manchester- writingcompetition.co.uk.