20 September 2017 from 17:15 to 19:00

A Session with Master-writer Cólm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín. Source: YouTube (still)
Colm Tóibín. Source: YouTube (still)

Cólm Tóibín is in the Netherlands to promote the Dutch translation of his recent book, House of NamesHouse of Names is a story of intense longing and shocking betrayal. It is a work of great beauty, and daring, from one of the world's finest living writers

Cólm Tóibín

Cólm 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 travelled 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). 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). He has edited ‘The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction’.

His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. Three books on his work have been published: 'Reading Colm Toibin', edited by Paul Delaney (2008); 'Mother/Country: Politics of the Personal in the Fiction of Colm Toibin' by Kathleen Costello-Sullivan (2012); and Eibhear Walshe's 'A Different Story: The Writings of Colm Toibin' (2013).

He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Ulster, University College Dublin, the University of East Anglia and the Open University. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of books and a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. Between 2006 and 2013 he was a member of the Irish Arts Council. He has twice been Visiting Stein Writer at Stanford University and has also been a visiting writing at the University of Texas at Austin. He taught at Princeton from 2009 to 2011 and was Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Manchester in 2011. He is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and Chancellor of Liverpool University. He is President of Listowel Writers Week and a member of the Board of Druid Theatre.

House of Names

This book is a powerful retelling of a classic Greek tragedy, a breathtaking story of a family at war with itself reimagined by one of the world's greatest living storytellers.

"They cut her hair before they dragged her to the place of sacrifice. Her mouth was gagged to stop her cursing her father, her cowardly, two-tongued father. Nonetheless, they heard her muffled screams."

On the day of his daughter's wedding, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice. His daughter is led to her death, and Agamemnon leads his army into battle, where he is rewarded with glorious victory.

Three years later, he returns home and finds his murderous action has set the entire family -- mother, brother, sister -- on a path of intimate violence, as they enter a world of hushed commands and soundless journeys through the palace's dungeons and bedchambers. As his wife, Clytemnestra, seeks his death, his daughter, Electra, is the silent observer to the family's game of innocence while his son, Orestes, is sent into bewildering, frightening exile where survival is far from certain. Out of their desolating loss, Electra and Orestes must find a way to right these wrongs of the past, even if it means committing themselves to a terrible, barbarous act.

 

Start date and time
20 September 2017 17:15
End date and time
20 September 2017 19:00