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Colm Tóibin


NYS Writers Institute, Friday, April 29, 2016
4:15 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
7:00 p.m.Film screening of BROOKLYN with commentary | [Note early state time]
Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus

Colm Tóibin, acclaimed Irish journalist and fiction writer, will read from his recent work on Friday, April 29, 2016 at 4:15 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Later that same day Tóibin will present film commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening of the film BROOKLYN (2015, 111 minutes, color), based on his 2009 novel of the same name,  at 7:00 p.m. in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on the University at Albany downtown campus. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with Albany Pro Musica’s City of Immigrants celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the Capital Region.


Novelist and journalist Colm Tóibin is one of Ireland’s foremost living writers. He began his career as a journalist writing for In Dublin, Hibernia, Sunday Tribune, and Dublin Sunday Independent. In 1980 he published his first novel, The South, which received the Irish Times/Aer Lingus First Fiction Award, and the travelogue Homage to Barcelona. Since then he has published seven novels and numerous works of nonfiction, many of which have been bestsellers. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

Tóibin’smost recent novel is Nora Webster (2014), the story of a young widow and mother of four who is struggling with grief after the loss of the love of her life. In a Los Angeles Times review Darin Strauss said the book “…may actually be a perfect work of fiction…There is no pyrotechny in the writing—just compassion and shrewd insight…which is where Tóibin’s brilliance lies.” The novel was chosen as one of the top books of the year by the New York Times, People, Christian Science Monitor, NPR, and Washington Post.

Colm ToibinBrooklyn, Tóibin’s 2009 novel, is about a young Irish woman who emigrates to Brooklyn and must choose between the two countries and her life in each. The novel was adapted for film and was released in 2015. The New Yorker reviewer praised the novel for its “…remarkable power, writing with a spareness and intensity that give the minutest shades of feeling immense emotional impact….Purging the immigrant novel of all swagger and sentimentality, Tóibin leaves is with a renewed understanding that to emigrate is to become a foreigner in two places at once.” The UK Times Literary Supplement said, “Reading Tóibin is like watching an artist paint one small stroke after another until suddenly the finished picture emerges to shattering effect….Brooklyn stands comparison with Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady.”


The film BROOKLYN (directed by John Crowley, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson) received almost universal praise, and was nominated for more than 130 film awards. New York Times reviewer A. O. Scott said BROOKLYN is “a lovely film based on the even lovelier novel.” The Boston Globe reviewer called the film “A cinematic snow-globe of nostalgia, a portrait of two worlds that aches with family lost and freedoms found. It is a beautiful film to experience.” San Francisco Chronicle reviewer Mike LaSalle said “Something in the richness of its relationships puts an essential truth before us—the brevity and immensity of life.”

Tóibin is also the author of the novels The Master (2004), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Testament of Mary (2012), both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His story collections are Mothers and Sons (2006), winner of the Edge Hill Prize, and The Empty Family (2010). He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. He is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Previous Visit: March 28, 2001

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.