Sunday 18 March 2018

Toibin to accept smaller fee for Amis teaching post

Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

NOVELIST Colm Toibin, left, will take over from Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester -- but on a reduced salary.

Mr Amis's appointment in 2007 resulted in a literary scandal when it emerged that his £80,00 (€93,183) annual salary worked out at £3,000 -- or just under €3,500 -- an hour.

It was his first teaching post.

The University of Manchester confirmed yesterday that Mr Toibin would be earning "less" than Mr Amis, but declined to give further details or information on why Mr Toibin would be paid less.

"We've never given out details on Mr Amis's salary, and all we're saying about Mr Toibin's is that it is 'less'," a spokesman told the Irish Independent.

Mr Toibin, from Enniscorthy in Co Wexford, is currently Leonard Milberg lecturer in Irish letters at Princeton University in America.

He will start his new role in September, with the university hoping he can raise its profile in a similar manner to Mr Amis, considered to be one of Britain's most iconic living authors.

John McAuliffe, co-director of the Centre for New Writing, described Mr Toibin as "a great writer and a public intellectual".

He predicted the Irishman's appointment would be "similarly iconic... inspiring students as well as contributing to cultural debates inside and outside the university".

Mr Toibin won the Costa novel award last year for 'Brooklyn', and his novel 'The Master' won the Impac Dublin literary award in 2006.

"I visited the centre for a reading two years ago and I saw and liked how the students combined writing new work with reading and talking about literature, in seminars and workshops and in the public events which bring the work out of the university and into contact with the wider world," he said.

It is understood that Mr Toibin will have a similar schedule to Mr Amis, teaching postgraduate students for two days a week one term each year and taking part in four public events.

Soon after Mr Amis's appointment, it was discovered that his £80,000 salary worked out at £3,000 an hour because his contract only obliged him to work 28 hours each year.

But many considered the author good value as his lectures were packed and he helped attract big-name speakers including John Banville to the university.

The university said there had been a 100pc increase in students applying for courses at the Centre for New Writing since Mr Amis's arrival.

Mr Amis is moving to New York for personal reasons.

Irish Independent

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