Colm Tóibín is recognized internationally as a versatile novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, journalist, critic and screenwriter. Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, a small town in Co. Wexford and educated at University College, Dublin.
After living in Barcelona from 1975-1978, Tóibín returned to Ireland and became a distinctive voice in a vibrant decade of Irish journalism (later 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).
Tóibín’s first award-winning novel, The South (1990) was followed by Homage to Barcelona (1990), The Heather Blazing (1992), The Story of the Night (1996) and The Blackwater Lightship (1999).
In 2004, Tóibín reimagined the mind and world of Henry James in his extraordinary novel, The Master. The Master was the winner of the IMPAC prize, the Los Angeles Times Novel of the Year, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger for the best foreign novel published in 2005 in France. It was nominated as one of the ten best books of 2004 by the New York Times and short-listed for the Man-Booker prize in the same year.
The film adaptation of his sixth novel, Brooklyn (2009), about a young Irish immigrant, earned three Academy Award nominations in 2015 (Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress). His tenth work of fiction, Nora Webster (2014), a novel of widowhood, grief and endurance in a small Irish town, won the Hawthornden Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for fiction. His most recent novel is House of Names (2017), described in the New York Times by Mary Beard as “an almost unfaultable combination of artful restraint and wonderfully observed detail.”
As well as his critically acclaimed novels, he has written the short story collections Mothers and Sons (2006) and The Empty Family (2010) and the play Beauty in a Broken Place (2004). His nonfiction includes the memoir A Guest at the Feast and New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers & Their Families (2012). In 2013, Fiona Shaw starred in the Broadway stage adaptation of his novel The Testament of Mary, nominated for a Tony award for Best Play. Tóibín is also a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, the Dublin Review and numerous arts and cultural arenas.
Tóibín succeeded Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester, and was a visiting professor at several US universities, including Princeton and Stanford. He is currently Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool University earlier this year.