MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Colm Toibin biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Colm Toibin
Photo: Bruce Weber

Colm Toibin

How to pronounce Colm Toibin: CULL-um Toe-BEAN

Colm Toibin Biography

Colm Tóibín was born in 1955 in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland, the second youngest of five children. He graduated from University College Dublin in 1975 and promptly moved to Barcelona for three years. His experiences in Spain informed his first novel The South (1990). Tóibín returned to Ireland to pursue a masters but never matriculated. He left academia for a career in journalism and was editor of the prominent Irish news magazine Macgill from 1982 to 1985. He has taught literature and creative writing at Princeton and Stanford Universities, among others, and currently lives in Dublin.

Along with writing a number of critically-acclaimed novels, Tóibín has also worked as a critic and editor of a variety of anthologies, like The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction in 1999. He has twice been short-listed for the Mann Booker Prize, for The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Master (2004), and won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for The Master. He is also the author of the novels The Heather Blazing (1992) and The Story of the Night (1996); a short story collection, Mothers & Sons (2006); a play, Beauty in a Broken Place (2004); and a novella, The Use of Reason (2006).

In 2008, a book of essays on his work, Reading Colm Toibin, edited by Paul Delaney, was published. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Ulster and from University College Dublin. He is a regular contributor to the Dublin Review, the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books. He was also Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Manchester in the autumn of 2011. He is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His second collection of stories, The Empty Family, was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor Prize. His collection of essays on Henry James, All a Novelist Needs, appeared also in 2010. In 2011 his play Testament, dirercted by Garry Hynes, was performed in the Dublin Theatre Festival with Marie Mullen in the lead role. Also in 2011, his memoir A Guest at the Feast was published by Penguin UK as a Kindle original.

Tóibín's books tend to revolve around a number of repeating themes - depiction of Irish society; the experience of the immigrant; and creativity and the preservation of personal identity, both in the face of loss and in the experience of homosexuality. The Heather Blazing, The Blackwater Lightship and Brooklyn use the town of Enniscorthy as literary material, while others, like The Master, deal with homosexual identity and take place, for the most part, outside of Ireland.

In 2012 his new collection of essays New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers & Their Families was published (February in UK; June in US).

Colm Toibin's novel Nora Webste', published in 2014, won the Hawthornden Prize, and his On Elizabeth Bishop, published in 2015, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. His ninth novel House of Names appeared in 2017. In May 2017, he co-curated Henry James and American Painting at the Morgan Library'.

Colm Toibin's website

This bio was last updated on 06/26/2017. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about this author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and publishers: If you wish to make changes to a bio, send the complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Colm Toibin at BookBrowse
House of Names jacket Nora Webster jacket The Testament of Mary jacket The Empty Family jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Colm Toibin but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba, in Anambra State, but grew up in the university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and briefly studied Medicine and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Brooklyn

    Try:
    Americanah
    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Tyler Anbinder

    Tyler Anbinder

    Tyler Anbinder is a professor of history and former chair of the History Department at George Washington University. His first book, Nativism and Slavery, won the Avery Craven Prize of the Organization of American Historians.... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Brooklyn

    Try:
    City of Dreams
    by Tyler Anbinder

We recommend 30 similar authors

View all 30 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Dredging in Swann
    A Dredging in Swann
    by Tim Garvin
    A Dredging in Swann, set in fictional Swann County, North Carolina, centers around fresh-out-of-the-...
  • Book Jacket: The Black Cathedral
    The Black Cathedral
    by Marcial Gala
    Marcial Gala's The Black Cathedral, translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner, is narrated through...
  • Book Jacket: When We Were Vikings
    When We Were Vikings
    by Andrew David MacDonald
    In When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald, readers are first introduced to Zelda on her ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Build a Heart
    How to Build a Heart
    by Maria Padian
    Maria Padian is well-known for her motif of exploring teen reactions to social issues. Her novel ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl in White Gloves
    by Kerri Maher

    A fascinating and deeply researched novel of the extraordinary Grace Kelly.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Splendid and the Vile
    by Erik Larson

    A fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Remembrance
by Rita Woods

A breakout debut with modern resonance, perfect for fans of The Underground Railroad and Orphan Train.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.