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Tuesday 21 October 2014

Colm is an author of formidable talent

Published 29/06/2011 | 09:01

ENNISCORTHY-born author Colm Tóibín, pictured left, nearly has as many job titles to his name as he has awards.

Novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist, playwright, lecturer and poet – he's a scribe of formidable talent and considerable international consequence. A former editor of Magill magazine, it has been Tóibín's books that have made him a literary giant, and he is something of an award 'magnet' on the world writing stage.

His second novel, The Heather Blazing, won the 1993 Encore Award; The Blackwater Lightship was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize; The Master won the 2006 International Impac Dublin Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2004 Booker prize. This book also won the Los Angeles Times Novel of the Year, the Stonewall book Award and the Lambda Literary Award as well as being listed by The New York Times as one of the 10 most notable books that year. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature while his book Brooklyn won the 2009 Costa Novel Award. In 2010 he was awarded the 38th annual AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award. He received the Irish Pen Award for his contribution to literature in 2011.

Born in 1955, Tóibín is the second youngest of five children. His father was a teacher in Enniscorthy, while he himself received his secondary education in St Peter's College, Wexford, where he was a boarder between 1970 and 1972.

A graduate of UCD, he is a member of Aosdána and has been visiting professor at Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin and Princeton University. In 2008 he received the honorary degree of DLitt at the University of Ulster. The University of Manchester recently named him its new professor of creative writing.

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