Colm Tóibín

See video links - as infra ...
1955- [orth. vars. Toibín; occas. Tóibín; err. Tóibin; reputedly from St Aubin, Norman Fr.]; b. 30 May, Co. Wexford, 2nd [err. 4th] youngest of five children of Mícheál Tóibín (1913-1967) and descended from a family of small-farmers, publicans and stone-masons with strong IRB and later Fianna Fáil connections; his mother was a published poet; his father, a schoolmaster with the Christian Brothers who also founded the Castle Museum with the local parish priest, died when Colm was 12 - a loss recounted in Sign of the Cross (1994); his grandfather Patrick Tobin took part in the 1916 Rising and was imprisoned at Frongoch; an uncle, Padraig, was a Fianna Fáil activist along with Colm’s father; developed a stammer at 8, when his father's illness began; sent to stay with an aunt with his a brother during the illness [‘the emotion has remained raw with me’]; starting writing to avoid speaking; successfully submitted poems for publication at 13; ed. National School, Wexford, and afterwards St Peter’s College Wexford [Diocesan Boarding School], 1970-1972; attended a dress performance of Bizet's “The Pearl Fishers” at the Wexford Opera House [aetat. 16]; spent summer working as a barman at Grand Hotel, Tramore, reading The Essential Hemingway - which inculcated a love of Spain; ed. UCD (BA, English & History, grad. 1975); left immediately from Barcelona (‘“The minute they said it, I said it, “Yes, I’m going”’), 1975; taught at the Dublin School of English there, having taken with him the Selected Poems of Elizabeth Bishop; participated in Catalan separatist demonstrations in the wake of Franco’s death; commenced MA in Modern English and American Literature at UCD, 1978, writing on Anthony Hecht; began journalism on In Dublin, as theatre critic, later becoming Features Editor, 1981; appt. editor of Magill, 1982-85, leaving after differences with the proprietor/editor Vincent Browne; commenced his first novel, The South; contrib. regularly to Sunday Independent; covered trial of Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri in Argentina, and travelled in S. America; issued “Martyrs and Metaphors” in Letters from the New Island (ed. Dermot Bolger, 1987), discounting the unity of Irish historical narratives; encouraged to attend regression therapy workshop by Ivor Browne; wrote anonymous article slamming Mike Murphy as an ‘anondyne’ host of the RTÉ Arts Show on which he himself made regular appearances - and was dropped by the furious journalist when the authorship became known, c.1989;
issued The South (1991), a novel dedicated to Catriona Crowe, partly written at Annamakerrig and set in Catalonia and Ireland in the 1950s, shortlisted for Whitbread and winner of The Irish Times Literature (Fiction) Award, 1991; issued The Heather Blazing (1992), concerning Irish High Court judge Eamon Redmond [based on Judge Brian Walsh] and his arbitration of an constitutional case with implications for his beliefs and family relationships; favourably reviewed by then-emerging Nick Hornby, and winner of the Encore Award, 1992; ed., New Writing From Ireland: A Soho Square Anthology (1993); The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (1994); winner of winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award & the E. M. Forster Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1995; issued The Story of the Night (1996), a novel about of Richard Garay, son of an Argentinian father and an embittered English mother, sleep-walking in the Buenos Aires of the Generals, who later finds love with Pablo, the son of a politician and AIDs through his San Francisco friends; placed on the Lambda list; essay on Irish famine in London Review of Books, 1998, commended for profound moral engagement and balance - later published with documentary material supplied by Diarmaid Ferriter (1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, &c.); ed. his father’s writings on local history (Michael Tóibín, Enniscorthy: History and Heritage, New Island 1998); issued The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English since 1950 (1999), selected with Carmen Callil [Virago Press ed.]; issued The Blackwater Lightship (1999), novel in which a Wexford family gathers to deal with the imminent death of a son and brother, stricken with AIDS, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, losing to Coetzee’s Disgrace but awarded the “People’s Booker” ; ed. The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (1999); held fellowship at Centre for Scholars and Writers NYPL, Sept. 2000-June 2001;
addressed the IASIL Conference in Barcelona in the same year; divides time between house on Fitzwilliam Place and Catalonia; launched Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush in Coole Park, March 2002; gave the Ernest Blythe Lecture (Abbey Th., 19 May 2002), speaking on Lady Gregory; issued Love in a Dark Times: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovár (2002), formerly review-articles on London Review of Books, launched in Dublin, March 22nd; stayed at Yaddo writers’ retreat, Saratoga Springs; issued The Master (2004), a novel based on 11 moments in the life of Henry James’s between Jan. 1895 and Aug. 1899, short-listed for Booker Prize, 2004, finalist for W. H. Smith Awards and British Book Awards; winner of LA Times Book Award in 2005; celebrated his 50th birthday in May 2005 with a party in his home on Upr. Pembroke St. which became the scene of a spat between playwright Tom Murphy and Gate director Michael Colgan; wrote Beauty in a Broken Place, a commissioned centenary play dealing with Sean O’Casey (dir. Niall Henry), which opened at the Peacock on 16 Aug. 2004; with Sebastian Barry, et al., shortlisted for Booker Prize, won by John Banville, 2005;presents a multi-part tour of Spain, beginning with Santiago de Compostella and proceeding to Barcelona (BBC3 Radio, May 2006; writes frequently for literary pages of English papers such as The Guardian and Times Literary Supplement and for the New York Times Book Review, et al.; winner of IMPAC prize (€100,000), for The Master, and the first Irish writer to do so, June 2006; issued short-story collection, Mothers and Sons (2006), the “most elemental of relationships”; gave BAIS/IES Queen Mary’s Coll. lecture on “Beckett’s Irish Voices” in Beveridge Hall SAS/IES (Senate Hse., Univ. of London), 12 Jan. 2007; acted as judge of Booker Mann awards, 2007; subject of a conference at TCD, 20-21 April 2007; participated in “Breaking Images”, radio programme on Francis Bacon (BBC3 / Sept. 2008; reiss. May 2009);
appt. Leonard Milberg Lecturer in Irish Studies at Princeton, 2009; appt. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University (NY), 2010, lecturing initially on women in 19th c. English fiction; issued Brooklyn (May 2009), a novel concerning Eilis Lacey, who leaves Enniscorthy for Brooklyn in the 1950s, marries an Italian-American, but returns home at the death of her sister and contemplates bigamy only to be driven back to America by the unwelcome arrival of news of her American marriage forcing her to choose between her new love at home and the life that has become hers, to which she reluctantly returns; chosen as Costa Novel of the Year; issued a The Empty Family (Autumn 2010), a collection of nine stories starting with the title story, divided equally between gay male and straight female narrators and dealing with memory and fogetting; appt. to a teaching post at Manchester Univ., Jan. 2011; issued a memoir, The Guest at the Feast - as a Penguin e-book (Dec. 2011); issues The Testament of Mary (2012), a monologue giving an account of the experience of the mother of Jesus at the hands of the disciples who founded the Christian religion, originally performed as a one-woman show in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, with Marie Mullen, dir. Gary Hynes; moved to New York, opening 22 April 2013, produced by Scott Rubin and dir. by Deborah Warner with Fiona Shaw in the lead; closed early; there enjoyed a run of 16 performances only, but was nevertheless nominated for Tony Awards in Best New Play and lighting categories (NY); Tóibín appeared in conversation with Tony Cronin, at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, Aug. 2102; Testament of Mary shortlisted for Man Booker Prize, 2013; contrib. preface to facsimile edition of Dracula at the centenary of Stoker’s death (Constable & Robinson 2012); interviewed by Fintan O’Toole for Eugene Meyer Lecture series, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, 7 March 2013; a screenplay of Brooklyn by Nick Hornby begins shooting in Wexford at the end of April 2014; appt. contributing editor of London Review of Books [q.d.]; Testament of Mary transferred to the Barbican Th. (London), May 2014;
issues Nora Webster (Oct. 2014), begun in 2000 - 14 years in the writing - based on his mother’s life and dealing with the grief of loss - like his own in losing his father in childhood - and reflecting her entrapment in the social reactions to her loss; winnder of  Hawthornden Prize; CT opened Maria Simmons-Gooding's RHA “Retrospective”, 4 Sept. 2014 (with programme essay); issues Colm Tóibín on Elizabeth Bishop (2015); presented the BBC3 critical documentary on “Thom Gunn: Appropriate Measures”, 24 July 2015; appt. Leonard Milberg lecturer in Irish letters at Princeton University; Tóibín was the castaway on “Desert Island Discs” pres. by Kirsty Young ((BBC4, Friday, 1 Jan. 2016) - commencing with traditional Irish music and song, and afterwards Joni Mitchell and Joan Sutherland (singing “I Dreamt I Dwelt ..”); contrib. lengthy account of 1916 Rising, which emphasis on the personality of Patrick Pearse, in London Review of Books (31 March 2016); wrote film-script for Return to Montauk, directed by Volker Schlöndorff, former Oscar-winning for his screen-adaption of Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum. and launched to acclaim at the Berlin Film Festival, Feb. 2017; writes to Arts Council Chairman protesting against the imposition of productivity requirements on artists in receipt of grants, April 2017; issued House of Names (2017), a based on the story of Clytemnestra (opening, ‘I have been acquainted with the smell of death .. sickly, sugary smell’); winner of Kenyon review award for Literary Achievement, May 2017 - a prize first taken by E L. Doctorow in 2002 and by Hilary Mantel in 2016; gave Richard Ellmann Memorial Lectures at Emory College, Atlanta, speaking on ‘literary fathers’ -covering Sir William Wilde, John Butler Yeats and John Stanislaus Joyce, nightly 12-14-Nov. 2017 [notices in Atlanta Journal-Constitution]; appt. Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, 2017; Tóibín owns homes on Fitzwilliam St., Dublin, in Wexford, Florence and New York; caused controversy by dismissing the thriller genre in a Guardian interview with Lisa O“Kelly (20 July 2019) and answered by Stephen Fry, et al.; stages the story of Antigone as Pale Sister, with Lisa Dwan, Dublin Oct. 2019; winner of David Cohen Prize for Literature, awarded by a panel chaired by Hermione Lee, Dec. 2021; issues The Magician (2021), a novel on Thomas Mann; appt. Irish Literary Laureate, in succession to Sebastian Barry for 2021-24; first lecture given on Irish music, 6 Nov. 2022; Toibin’s hosts a book-club countrywide during his term of office. OCIL
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Newsflash: Dayton Literary Peace Prize officials named Tóibín, whose wide range of work has drawn from his native Ireland, his life as a gay man and his travels as an international journalist, for the Richard C Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. The award is named after the late US diplomat who brokered the 1995 Bosnia peace accords (Dayton Peace Accords). [Via Facebook 12.07.2017.]

photo by Brigitte Lacombe

Photo-port. by Brigitte Lacombe

See Ron Charles, review of House of Cards, Washington Post (2 May 2017)“Entertainment”- online; accessed 05.05.2017.

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Internet: The “Colm Tóibín” website is one of the most fully-developed authorised writer’s pages in the internet - see online.

The Testament of Mary was launched as an audio-book, read by Meryl Streep, also in 2013.  A digital copy was offered prominently on the Sony Xperia book store and elsewhere in September 2013.
Toibin on Brooklyn - in conversation with Alice Walker: ‘I had to be careful not to preach about that in the book, just tell the story. But I hope that when you see the young Lithuanian girl at the cash register in the supermarket looking really sad one day, you know it’s for good reason: She’s missing home. I hoped the book might contribute to that public debate.’ (See Philip Galanes, “Table for Three”, in The New York Times, 23 Jan. 2016 - online.)

See Colm Tóibín and Roy Foster in dialogue with Fintan O’Toole on at Heyman Centre of Stanford University - 9 April 2015 [online].

  • The South (London: Serpent’s Tail 1990), 238pp. [‘For Catriona Crowe’], & Do. (London: Picador 1992; rep. 1995), 238pp.
  • The Heather Blazing (London: Picador 1992; rep. 1993), 245pp., Do.[Bloomsbury Classic Ser.] (London: Bloomsbury 1995); Do. (London: Vintage 1995), and Do.[trans. by Anna Gibson as] La bruyère incendiée: roman (Paris: Flammarion 1996.
  • The Story of the Night (London: Macmillan 1996), 312pp; Do. (London: Picador 1996; 1997), 320pp., and Do. [1st US edn.] (NY: Henry Holt & Company 1997.
  • The Blackwater Lightship (London: Picador 1999; rep. 2000), 273pp.; Do. (NY: Scribner 2000, 2001), 288pp.
  • The Master (London: Picador 2004), 469pp. [on Henry James].
  • Brooklyn (London: Penguin Viking 2009), 252pp.
  • The Testament of Mary (London: Penguin Viking; NY: Scribner 2012), 81pp.
  • [for Loughlin Deegan and Denis Looby]
  • Nora Webster (London: Penguin Viking; NY: Scribner 2014), 373pp.; Do. [rep. edn.] (NY: Scribner 2017), 400pp.
  • House of Names: A Novel (Viking 2021)), and Do. (NY: Scribner 2017), 277pp.
  • The Magician: A Novel (Scribners 2021), 320pp. [on Thomas Mann]
Note: Extracts from many of these texts are given under Quotations, infra.
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Short fiction
  • Mothers and Sons (London: Picador 2006), 309pp. [“A Use of Reason”; “A Long Winter”, et al. incl. “A Song” [first pub. in Village, 20 Dec. 2004, pp.55-57 - as extract].
  • The Empty Family (NY: Scribners 2010), 275pp. [see extract]

Also contrib. ‘A Visit to the Zoo’ [story] to Granta: The Magazine of New Writing, ed., Sigrid Rausing [Iss. 135: New Irish Writing], (Spring 2016)

  • Walking Along the Border (London: Queen Anne Press 1987), [photographs by Tony O’Shea] 159pp., rep. as Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border [rev. edn.] (London: Vintage 1994), 210pp.
  • The Trial of the Generals: Selected Journalism 1980-1990 (Dublin: Raven Arts 1990), 197pp.
  • The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (London: Jonathan Cape 1994), 296pp.
  • with Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Famine: A Documentary (London: Profile 2001, 2003), 221pp. [orig. review articles in London Review of Books, 1998].
  • Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2002), 127pp.
  • Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovár (London: Picador 2002), 279pp.
  • All a Novelist Needs: Colm Tóibín on Henry James, ed. edited & intro. by by Susan M. Griffin (Johns Hopkins UP 2010), xviii, 148pp. [pieces on James prev. printed in Irish Times, NYRB, &c.]
  • Colm Toibin on Elizabeth Bishop (Princeton UP 2015), 209pp.
Essay Collections
  • New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families (London: Viking [Penguin] 2012), 346pp. [Bibliography, p.329; Acknowledgements, p.331; Index, p.333 [See contents]
  • Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know ([London & NY:] Viking 2018), 192pp. [3 essays on the wayward fathers of Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats and James Joyce].
  • “Two Grecos”, in Times Literary Supplement (23 April 2004).
  • Vinegar Hill ( due April 2022).
  • Beauty in a Broken Place (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2004), 96pp.
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Edited collections
  • ed., Seeing is Believing: Moving Statues in Ireland ([Laois] Mountrath: Pilgrim 1985), 95pp. [reviewed by Mary Leland, Irish Times, 16 Nov. 1985).
  • ed., Homage to Barcelona (London: Simon & Schuster 1990), and Do. (NY: Simon & Schuster 1994), 240pp. [travel guide].
  • Soho Square 6: New Writing from Ireland (London: Bloomsbury 1993), 255pp., rep. as New Writing From Ireland: A Soho Square Anthology (Winchester, MA: Faber 1994).
  • ed., with Bernard Loughlin, The Guinness Book of Ireland (Enfield: Guinness Publishing 1995), 192pp.
  • ed., The Kilfenora Teaboy: A Study of Paul Durcan (Dublin: New Island Books 1996), 173pp.
  • ed., Irish Short Stories [Penguin audiobooks series] ([London]: Penguin 1997)[4 sound cassettes].
  • ed., with Carmen Callil, The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English Since 1950 (London: Picador 1999), 304pp. [see details]
  • ed. [& intro.], The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (London: Viking 1999), and Do. [rev. edn.] (London: Viking 2000), 1,120pp. [see contents].
  • with Andrew O’Hagan, ed, New Writing II (London: Picador 2002).
  • ed., Synge: A Celebration (Carysfort Press 2005), 179pp. [contribs. incl. Sebastian Barry, Marina Carr, Anthony Cronin, Roddy Doyle, Anne enright, Hugo Hamilton, Joseph O’Connor, Mary O’Malley, Fintan O’Toole, Vincent Wood and Ann Saddlemyer].
  • sel., ed. & intro., The New York Stories of Henry James [New York Review Books Classics] (NY: NYRB 2006) xxviii, 557pp. [contains “The story of a masterpiece”; “A most extraordinary case”; “Crawford’s consistency”; “An international episode”; “Washington Square”; “The impressions of a cousin”; “The jolly corner”; “Crapy Cornelia”; “A round of visits”; reprinted in 2006].
  • ed. & intro.,, De Profundis and Other Prison Writings [Penguin Classics] (Penguin Books 2103), xxxii, 266pp. [see under Wilde > notice].
  • ed. & intro., One Hundred Years of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” (Pennsylvania UP 2022), 184pp. [see contents under Joyce > Criticism - as attached].

Also introductions to works on Robert Glück’s Margery Kempe and L. P. Hartley’s The Go-Between - both for NYRB Classics [2022].

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Journalism (selected)
  • ‘Martyrs and Metaphors’ [lecture at first Kate O’Brien Weekend], in Letters from the New Island, ed. Dermot Bolger (Dublin: Raven Arts 1987), pp.6-8, also iss. as Martyrs and Metaphors [Letters from the New Island Series] (Dublin: Raven Arts 1987), 20pp.
  • review of Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature [Field Day pamphs.; 5th ser.], in Fortnight [Belfast], No. 271 (March 1989), p.21.
  • ‘New Ways to Kill Your Father: Historical Revisionism’, in Ireland: Towards New Identities?, ed. Karl-Heinz Westarp & Michael Böss (Aarhus UP 1998), pp.28-36.
  • ‘Erasures’, [on amnesia and the famine], London Review of Books (30 July 1998) [q.p.].
  • ‘Literary Genesis’, [account of preparation of The Modern Library with Carmen Callil of Virago], in The Irish Times (17 April 1999), [q.p.].
  • ‘Pugin in Ireland’, review of Rosemary Hill, God’s Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain, in The Irish Times (11 Aug. 2007), Weekend [see extract].
  • ‘Issues of Truth and Invention’, review of The Wartime Broadcasts of Francis Stuart, by Brendan Barrington (Dublin: Lilliput 2000), in London Review of Books (4 Jan. 2001), pp.3 & 6-11.
  • [extract from ] Love in a Dark Time, in The Irish Times [Weekend], 2 March 2002, p.4; [on Roger Casement].
  • ‘The mystery of Inis Meáin’, feature-review of Walls of Aran [photographs by Sean Scully] in The Guardian (12 May 2007) [see extract].
  • ‘What to do. How to live’ [keynote lecture], in Ireland and Transatlantic Poetics: Essays in Honor of Denis Donoghue, ed. Brian Caraher & Robert Mahony (Delaware UP 2007), q.pp.
  • [...]
  • ‘The Poetry of an Empty Space’, in The Irish Times (25 June 2011) [see copy]
  • ‘A craft of words to work a halo around the ordinary’, in “Friel at 80”, The Irish Times (Monday 27 June 2011) [particularly on the early fiction].
  • Colm Tóibín, ‘[W]riters and their families’, in The Guardian (12 Feb. 2012) - see copy as attached; also available online].
  • ‘Tom Murphy’ [Colm Tóibín interviews Tom Murphy], in Bomb, 120 [“The Artist’s Voice since 1981” - spec. iss.] (Summer 2012) - see also copy as attached; also available online.
  • ‘Colm Tóibín on Joyce’s Dublin: city of dreamers and chancers’, in The Guardian (15 June 2012) [as attached].
  • ‘A passionate witness of life and death in Gaza’, review of A Month by the Sea, in The Irish Times (4 May 2013), Weekend, p.11 [see extract under Dervla Murphy, infra].
  • review of Human Chain, by Seamus Heaney, in The Guardian (21 Aug. 2010) [see under Heaney as supra,; copy as attached].
  • ‘How I Wrote Nora Webster’, in The Guardian (22 Jan. 2016) [available online].
  • ‘After I am hanged my portrait will be interesting: Colm Tóibín tells the story of Easter 1916’, in London Review of Books (31 March 2016) [as attached.]
  • ‘Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis - one of the greatest love letters ever written’, in The Guardian (26 August 2016) [ see attached].
  • ‘A book wouldn’t improve Trump’, interview with Lisa O’Kelly, in The Guardian (20.07.2019) [available online; see also response by Martin Doyle, in Irish Times - online, 22.07; echoed by NY Times online, 27.07].
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London Review of Books (reviews & essays)
[Note: Many of the articles listed below are copied in RICORSO with links to full versions either here or in Quotations - as infra. ]
  • ‘The Built-in Reader’, review of Dream of Fair to Middling Women, by Samuel Beckett, ed. by Eoin O’Brien and Edith Fournier, in London Review of Books (8 April 1993), pp.14-15.
  • ‘So much for shame’, review of Haughey: His Life and Unlucky Deeds, by Bruce Arnold, in London Review of Books (10 June 1993),. pp.7-9.
  • ‘New Ways of Killing Your Father, review of Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History, by R. F. Foster, in London Review of Books (18 November 1993), pp.3-6.
  • ‘Insiderish’, review of Profane Friendship, by Harold Brodkey, in London Review of Books (26 May 1994).
  • Diary, in London Review of Books (6 January 1994) [from Barcelona].
  • How many nipples had Graham Greene?, in London Review of Books (9 June 1994).
  • ‘Like Learning to Swim in Early Middle Age’, review of Shelf Life: Essays, Memoirs and an Interview by Thom Gunn, in London Review of Books (20 April 1995).
  • ‘The South’, review of One Art: The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Bishop, ed. by Robert Giroux, in London Review of Books (4 August 1994).
  • ‘On, in London Review of Books (Not) Saying What You Mean, in London Review of Books (30 November 1995), pp.3-6 [report from Dublin].
  • ‘Playboys of the GPO’, review of Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation, by Declan Kiberd, in London Review of Books (18 April 1996), pp.14-16 [available online; see also attached letter in response by Barry Ó Séaghdha, 23 May 1996].
  • ‘Why should you be the only ones that sin?’, review of Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature, by Anthony Heilbut; Thomas Mann: A Biography, by Ronald Hayman, and Thomas Mann: A Life, by Donald Prater, in London Review of Books (5 September 1996).
  • ‘A House Full of No One’, review of Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir by Mark Doty, Atlantis by Doty, This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death, by Harold Brodksy, and PWA: Looking Aids in the Face, by Oscar Moore, in London Review of Books (6 February 1997).
  • ‘He’ll have brought it on Himself’, review of Sex, Nation and Dissent in Irish Writing, ed. by Éibhear Walshe, and Goodbye to Catholic Ireland, by Mary Kenny, in London Review of Books (22 May 1997).
  • ‘A Whale of a Time’, review of Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White, ed. y Roger Sawyer, and The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement, ed. by Angus Mitchell, in London Review of Books (2 October 1997).
  • ‘Erasures’ [on The Irish Famine], in London Review of Books (30 July 1998).
  • ‘Roaming the Greenwood’, review of A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, in London Review of Books (21 January 1999).
  • ‘“What is your nation, if I may ask?”’, review of Jews in 20th-century Ireland: Refugees, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust by Dermot Keogh, in London Review of Books (30 September 1999).
  • ‘Issues of Truth and Invention’, review of The Wartime Broadcasts of Francis Stuart by Francis Stuart, ed. Brendan Barrington, in London Review of Books (4 January 2001).
  • ‘Love in a Dark Time’, review of The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde, ed. Merlin Holland & Rupert Hart-Davis, in London Review of Books (20 September 2001).
  • ‘The Last Witness’ [on the Career of James Baldwin], in London Review of Books (20 September 2001), pp.15-20.
  • ‘How To Be a Wife’, review of Janet & Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by Jan Pottker & Mrs Kennedy, and The Missing History of the Kennedy Years by Barbara Learning, in London Review of Books (6 June 2002).
  • ‘A Djinn speaks’, review of Becoming George: The Life of Mrs W. B. Yeats, by Ann Saddlemyer, in London Review of Books (20 February 2003), pp.19-24 [available online].
  • ‘Rinse it in Dead Champagne’, review of War Paint: Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden: Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry, by Lindy Woodhead and Diana Vreeland, by Eleanor Dwight, in London Review of Books (5 February 2004).
  • ‘A Priest in the Family’ [story], in London Review of Books (6 May 2004) [short story].
  • ‘I was Mary Queen of Scots’, review of My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots, by John Guy and Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens, by Jane Dunn, in London Review of Books (21 October 2004), p.6-8
  • ‘In His Pink Negligée: The Ruthless Truman Capote’, review of The Complete Stories, by Truman Capote, and Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote, ed. by Gerald Clarke, in London Review of Books (21 April 2005), pp.8-10;
    ‘At St Peter’s: The Dangers of a Priestly Education’, review of The Ferns Report, by Francis Murphy, Helen Buckley and Laraine Joyce, in London Review of Books (1 December 2005), pp.19-26.
  • ‘Don’t abandon me: Borges and the Maids’, review of Borges: A Life, by Edwin Williamson, in London Review of Books (11 May 2006), pp.30-34.
  • ‘Avoid the Orient: The Ghastly Paul Bowles’, review of Paul Bowles: A Life, by Virginia Spencer Carr, in London Review of Books (4 January 2007), pp.30-34.
  • ‘My Darlings: Drinking with Samuel Beckett’, in London Review of Books (5 April 2007), pp.3-8 [see extracts under Beckett, Commentary, supra].
  • ‘The Wickedest Woman in Paris: Rupert Everett’, review of Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, by Rupert Everett, in London Review of Books (6 September 2007), pp.30-33.
  • ‘A Man with My Trouble: Henry James leaves home’, review of The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72, 2 vols. ed. Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias, in London Review of Books (3 January 2008), pp.15-18.
  • ‘The Art of Being Found Out: the need to be revealed’, in London Review of Books (20 March 2008), pp.34-27 [on Lady Gregory and Henry James].
  • ‘I Could Sleep with All of Them: the Mann Family’, review of In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story, by Andrea Weiss, in London Review of Books (6 November 2008), pp.3-10.
  • ‘Urning: The Revolutionary Edward Carpenter’, review of Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love, by Sheila Rowbotham, in London Review of Books (29 January 2009), pp.14-16.
  • ‘Follow-the-Leader: Bishop v. Lowell’, review of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, edited by Thomas Travisano and Saskia Hamilton, in London Review of Books (14 May 2009), pp.3-8.
  • ‘Who to Be: Beckett’s Letters’, review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1929-40, ed. Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck, in London Review of Books (6 August 2009), pp.14-20.
  • ‘My God, the Suburbs!’, review of Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey, in London Review of Books (5 November 2009), pp.19-23.
  • ‘The Stubbornness of Lorenzo Lotto’, in London Review of Books (8 April 2010), pp.17-19
  • ‘The Author in the Age of the Internet’ [video of Nicholas Price, Colm Toibin, et al. at 30th anniversity of LRB], in London Review of Books (24 April 2010).
  • ‘The Importance of Aunts’, in London Review of Books (17 March 2011), pp. 13-19 [Jane Austen, Henry James, et al.].
  • ‘Among the Flutterers: The Pope Wears Prada’, review of The Pope Is Not Gay by Angelo Quattrocchi, translated by Romy Clark Giuliani, in London Review of Books (19 August 2010), pp.3-9.
  • ‘Mann v. Mann: The Brother Problem’, review of House of Exile: War, Love and Literature, from Berlin to Los Angeles, by Evelyn Juers, in London Review of Books (3 November 2011), pp.13-16.
  • ‘The Poetry of an Empty Space’ [on Thomas Kinsella], in The Irish Times (25 June 2011), Weekend - orig. publ. as “The Dark 16th Century”, in Dublin Review, Summer 2011 [see attached.]
  • ‘Flann O’Brien’s Lies’, in London Review of Books (5 Jan. 2012), pp.32-36 [see extract]
  • ‘On Some Days of the Week: Mrs Oscar Wilde’, review of Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde, by Franny Moyle, and The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition, ed. by Nicholas Frankel, in London Review of Books (10 May 2012), pp.3-8.
  • ‘A Man of No Mind: The Passion of Roger Casement’, review of The Dream of the Celt, by Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. by Edith Grossman, in London Review of Books (13 September 2012) [q.pp.].
  • ‘Places Never Explained’, review of The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht, ed. by Jonathan Post, in London Review of Books (8 Aug. 2013) [q.pp.].
  • [...]
  • On the filming of Brooklyn, in The Guardian , in London Review of Books (10 Oct. 2015) [see extract]
  • ‘The Censor in Each of Us’, in The New Yorker, in London Review of Books (19 July 2014) [q.pp.).
  • ‘The Road to Reading Gaol’, in London Review of Books , in London Review of Books (30 Nov. 2017) - as attached; or see extracts under William Wilde [on Oscar’s father] - infra.
  • ‘The Playboy of West 29th Street’, in London Review of Books , in London Review of Books (25 Jan. 2018) - [online or as attached].
  • ‘His Spittin’ Image: Colm Tóibín on John Stanislaus Joyce’, in London Review of Books (22 Feb. 2018), pp.32-36 [online - or as attached].
  • ‘On Not Being Sylvia Plaith’, review of Selected Poems of Thom Gunn, in London Review of Books (13 Sept. 2018) [see extract].
[ For updates, see London Review of Books Contributors page > Colm Tóibín - online].
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Miscellaneous (Selected reviews, &c.)
  • ‘Malvinas Malvinas’, [work in progress], in Big Issue [Eire] (July 1995), [q.p.].
  • Introduction to Francis Stuart, Black List, Section H [rep.] (Penguin 1996).
  • Introduction to Micheal Tóibín, Enniscorthy: History and Heritage (Dublin: New Island Books 1998).
  • ‘The Day Poetry Came Alive’, in The Irish Times (9 Dec. 2000).
  • ‘The Talk of the Town: The Plays of Billy Roche’, in Druids, Dudes and Beauty Queens: The Changing Face of Irish Theatre, ed. Dermot Bolger (Dublin: New Island Press 2001), pp.30-54.
  • review of Vincent Banville, An End ot Flight (New Island), in The Irish Times, Weekend Sect. (21 Dec. 2002), p.11.
  • ‘Emmet and the Historians [what the epaulets were for]’, in The Dublin Review, 12 (Autumn 2003), 107-27 [see extract].
  • ‘Writing the Troubles - Talks by Glenn Patterson, Anne Devlin and Colm Tóibín’, in Representing the Troubles: Text and Images 1970-2000, ed. Brian Cliff & Eibhear Walshe (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2004) [Chap. 1.].
  • ‘Reinventing Shakespeare’, review of Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, in NY Times [Book Review Desk] (3 Oct. 2004), Sect. 7, p.22-23 [see extract].
  • ‘The Writer Responds’ [to Book-Club questions about Brooklyn], in The Irish Times (27 Feb. 2010), Weekend Review, p.12. [see extract].
  • ed. & intro., Enniscorthy: A History (q. pub.) [incls. Catherine Cox, Anthony Cronin, Daniel Gahan, Rita Edwards, Peter Pearson [ill.], Jacinta Prunty, Eamon Wall, Dan Walsh, et al; reviewed by Tom Dunne in The Irish Times, 24 Dec. 2010 - see online]
  • ‘Colm Tóibín: Wexford Boy’, in The Irish Times (9 Aug. 2011) [part of a Irish writers on their native counties series].
  • ‘How We Changed ... and stayed the same’, review of Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s, by Diarmaid Ferriter, in The Irish Times (10 Nov.2012), Weekend [q.p.].
  • ‘Witty and Wounded’, review of A Kick Against the Pricks, by David Norris, in The Irish Times (27 Oct. 2012), Weeken, p.10.
  • [...]
  • ‘On Not Being Sylvia Plaith’: review of Thom Gunn, Selected Poems, in London Review of Books (13 Sept. 2018) [see extract]:
  • Review of The Human Chain by Seamus Heaney, in The Irish Times (21 Aug 2010) [see copy].
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Tóibín’s numerous contribs. to NY Review of Books include ...
  • ‘American Critic’, review of Lewis M. Dabney, Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature, in The New York Times Book Review (4 Sept. 2005), pp.9-11 [see extract].
  • ‘Their Vilest Hour’, review of Human Smoke: The Beginnings of the Second World War, the End of Civilisation by Nicholson Baker, in New York Times Book Review [cover story] (23 March 2008), p.1, p.9; [see extract].
  • ‘A Great American Visionary’, review of Hart Crane; Complete Poems and Selected Letters (Library of America), in New York Review of Books, 17 April 2008, pp.36-40.
  • ... &c.
  • ‘The Late Francis Bacon: Spirit & Substance’, in New York Review of Books (19 Nov. 2015) - available online.
  • ‘Silence, Exile and Cunning’, review of James Joyce: A Biography, by Gordon Bowker in New York Times (17 Aug. 2012) [see copy].
  • [...]
  • ‘James Merrill’s Friends & Lovers’, in New York Review of Books (10 June 2021) [cover notice].
  • ‘Fighting Over Picasso’, in New York Review of Books (10 Feb. 2022) [headline cover].
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Broadcasts & commissions
  • ‘The Wandering Harp’, one of seven short original works from leading European writers commissioned by “The World Today” (BBC World Service) [extract].
  • ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ [story], in The Guardian (Saturday June 25, 2005) [extract].
Guardian articles
  • ‘I embraced Henry James’s fight against complacency’, in “Books that Changed Me” [series], The Guardian ([Friday] 28 Aug. 2015) - available online.

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Links at YouTube (28.06.2011)

*Page links with 10+ other Youtube interviews. Note that Toibin hosts Donoghue’s interview at the publication of Room on his webpage - online.

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Reading: Colm Toibin reads Mary Lavin's ’In the Middle of the Fields’, for the New Yorker (1961), with Deborah Treisman in New York, 1 June 2017 - podcast.
Lecture: Colm Toibin talks on Irish Music in his inaugural lecture as Laureate of Irish Fiction on 6 Nov. 2022; available on YouTube - online; accessed 27.12.2022

Bibliographical details
The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English since 1950, ed. Carmen Cahill & Colm Tóibín (Picador 2000), incls. short, incisive commentaries on the eclectic and wide-ranging selected titles, laid one as one page per book; cites awards; titles incl. Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy-Man ; Gita Mehta, A River Sutra, Janet Frame, Owls Do Cry ; Agatha Christie, Murder is Announced [&c.].

The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction, ed. Colm Tóibín (London: Penguin 1999) - CONTENTS: lntroduction [ix]; Bibl. references, pp.xxxiii-xxxiv; Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), from Gulliver’s Travels [3]; Laurence Stene (171 3-68), from The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent. [40]; Frances Sheridan (1724-66), from Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph [75]; Oliver Goldsmith (1728-;74), from The Vicar of Wakefield [85]; Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849), Castle Rackrent [95]; Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824), from Melmoth the Wanderer [146]; Lady Morgan (1783-1859), from The O’Briens and the O’Flahertys [161]; William Carleton (1794-1869), “Wildgoose Lodge” [172]; from The Black Prophet [185]; John Banim (1798-1842), from The Croppy [196]; Gerald Griffin {1803-40), from The Collegians [203]; Charles Lever (1806-72), from St Patrick’s Eve [217]; Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (J814-73), from Uncle Silas [229]; Anthony Trollope (1815-82), from The Kellys and the O’Kellys [239]; from Phineas Finn [255]; Rosa Mulholland (1841-l921), “The Hungry Death” [268]; Emily Lawless (1845-1913), from Hurrish [283]; Bram Stoker (1847-1912), from Dracula [288]; George Moore (1852-1933), from Esther Waters [315]; “Home Sickness” [328]; Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), from The Picture of Dorian Gray [336]; Edith Somerville (1858-1949) and Martin Ross (1862-1915), from The Real Charlotte [346]; Robert Tressell (1870-1911), from The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists [355]; Katherine Cecil Thurston (1875-1911), from The Fly on the Wheel [361]; Daniel Corkery (1878-1964), “Nightfall” [367]; James Stephens (1882-1950), from The Crock of Gold [371]; “A Glass of Beer” [371]; James Joyce (1882-1941), “The Dead” [379]; from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man [407]; from Ulysses [415]; from Finnegans Wake [453]; Peadar O’Donnell (1893-1986), from The Knife [459]; Liam O’Flaherty (1896-1984), from Mr Gilhooley [463]; “The Hawk” [467]; K. Arnold Price (1896-1989), from The New Perspective [470]; Kate O’Brien (1897-1974), from The Land of Spices [475]; from The Anteroom [488]; Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), “Her Table Spread” [494]; from The Last September [499]; Sean O’Faolain (1900-1991), “A Dead Cert” [509]; Seosamh Mac Grianna (1901-90), “On the Empty Shore” [516]; Francis Stuart (1902- ), from Black List, Section H [519]; Frank O’Connor (1903-66), “Guests of the Nation” [526]; Molly Keane (1904-96), from Two Days in Aragon [534]; Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967), from Tarry Flynn [544]; Samuel Beckett (1906-89), from Murphy [556]; “First Love” [558]; from Malone Dies [569]; “Company” [583]; Máirtín Ó Cadhain (1906-70), “Floodtide” [598]; Michael McLaverty (1907-92.), from Call My Brother Back [606]; Bryan MacMahon (1909-98), “Exile’s Return” [610]; Sam Hanna Bell (1909-90), from December Bride [618]; Flann O’Brien (1911-66), “The Martyr’s Crown” [622]; from At Swim-Two-Birds [626]; from The Third Policeman [639]; Mary Lavin (1912.-96), “Happiness” [650]; Maeve Brennan (1917-93): “The Morning after the Big Fire” [661]; Iris Murdoch (1919-99), from The Red and the Green [663]; Benedict Kiely (1919- ), “Homes on the Mountain” [673]; James Plunkett (192.0- ), “The Eagles and the Trumpets” [681]; Brian Moore (1921-99), from Black Robe [698]; Val Mulkerns (1925- ), “Memory and Desire” [706]; Anthony Cronin (1925- ), from The Life of Riley [715]; Aidan Higgins (1927- ), from Balcony of Europe [719]; John Broderick (1927-89), from The Trials of Father Dillingham [728]; William Trevor (1928- ), “Kathleen’s Field” [732]; Leland Bardwell (1928- ), “The Hairdresser” [745]; Brian Friel (1929- ), “Foundry House” [749]; Eugene McCabe (1930- ), “Music at Annahullion” [758]; Mary Beckett {1930- ), “A Belfast Woman” [767]; Jennifer Johnston (1930- ), from The Captains and the Kings [776]; Tom Mac Intyre (1931- ), “Left of the Door” [786]; Edna O’Brien (1930- ), from The Country Girls [787]; Julia O’Faolain (1932- ), “Will You Please Go Now” [794]; Maurice Leitch (1933- ), from Stamping Ground [802]; John McGahern (1934- ), from The Barracks [813]; “The Country Funeral” [834]; Seamus Deane (1940- ), from Reading in the Dark [858]; Mary Leland (1941- ), from The Killeen [861]; Bernard Mac Laverty (1942- ), “Life Drawing” [865]; Ita Daly (1945- ), “Such Good Friends” [873]; John Banville (1945- ), from Birchwood [881]; from The Book of Evidence [886]; Shane Connaughton (1946- ), “Topping” [895]; Dermot Healy (1947- ), from A Goat’s Song [906]; Clare Boylan (1948- ), from Holy Pictures [912]; Neil Jordan (1950- ), “Night in Tunisia” [920]; Desmond Hogan (1951- ), “Memories of Swinging London” [929]; Mary Dorcey (1951- ), “A Country Dance” [936]; Hugo Hamilton (1953- ), “Nazi, Christmas” [948]; Carlo Gebler (1954- ) from The Cure [952]; David Park (1914- ), from The Healing [959]; Sebastian Barry (1955- ), from The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty [964]; Patrick McCabe (1955- ), from The Butcher Boy [969]; Aidan Mathews (1956- ), “In the Dark” [978]; Mary Morrissy (1957- ), “The Cantilever Principle” [986]; Roddy Doyle (1958- ), from The Snapper [991]; Dermot Bolger (1959- ), from The Journey Home [1000]; Deirdre Madden (1960- ), from Remembering Light and Stone [1010]; Eoin McNamee (1961- ), from Resurrection Man [1016]; Anne Enright (1962- ), “(She Owns), Every Thing” [1025]; Glenn Patterson (1962- ), from Burning Your Own [1021]; Joseph O’Connor (1963- ), from Cowboys and Indians [1034]; Frank Ronan (1963- ), “Slade” [1042]; Robert McLiam Wilson (1964- ), from Eureka Street [1041]; Colum McCann (1965- ), “Breakfast for Enrique” [1059]; Emma Donoghue (1969- ), “Going Back” [1065]. Biographical Notes [1015]; Acknowledgements [1083]; Copyright Acknowledgements [1084]; (See formatted version of this list in Bibliography > Anthologies - as attached.)

New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families (London: Viking [Penguin] 2012), 346pp. [Bibliography, p.329; Acknowledgements, p.331; Index, p.333. CONTENTS: Jane Austen, Henry James and the Death of the Mother [1]. Part One - Ireland: W B. Yeats: New Ways to Kill Your Father [33]; Willie and George [52]; New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Synge and His Family [78]; Beckett Meets His Afflicted Mother [111]; Brian Moore: Out of Ireland Have I Come, Great Hatred, Little Room [134]; Sebastian Barry’s Fatherland [156]; Roddy Doyle and Hugo Hamilton: The Dialect of the Tribe [166]. Part One - Elsewhere: Thomas Mann: New Ways to Spoil Your Children [185]; Borges: A Father in His Shadow [212]; Hart Crane: Escape from Home [246]; Tennessee Williams and the Ghost of Rose [262]; John Cheever: New Ways to Make Your Family’s Life a Misery [276]; Baldwin and “the American Confusion” [296]; Baldwin and Obama: Men Without Fathers [316]. Bibliography [329]. Acknowledgements [331]. Index [333]

Query, The Youth [Viking], 238pp., listed in Abebooks as Viking remainders [n.d.] at Dorothy’s Books, Caldwell, ID, USA.

Barnes & Noble: The American bookseller lists 34 of his publications with cover illustrations on their website - online [accessed 20.10.2013].

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  • Interview with Shirley Kelly, in Books Ireland (Oct. 1994), pp.240-41; Maurice Harmon’, review of The Heather Blazing (Picador 1992), Irish Literary Supplement (Spring 1994), p.21 [see extract].
  • Hayden Murphy, review of talk given by Tóibín at the 7th Biennial Edinburgh Book Festival (Sept. 1995), in Irish Times (9 Sept. 1995), [see extract].
  • G. V. Whelan’, review of The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (London: Jonathan Cape 1994), in Books Ireland (April 1995), pp.84-85 [see extract].
  • Brendan Hamill’, review of The Story of the Night, in Fortnight Review (Nov. 1996), [see extract].
  • John Dunne’, review of The Story of the Night (1996), in Books Ireland (Nov. 1996), p.320 [see extract].
  • Eithne Farry’, review of The Blackwater Lightship (Amazon online, 1999), [see extract].
  • Terry Eagleton’, review of The Blackwater Lightship, in London Review of Books (14 Oct. 1999), p.5 [see extract].
  • Richard Tyrell, ‘The Shock of the New’ [interview-article], in The Independent [UK] (18 Sept. 1999), [q.pp.].
  • [Shirley Kelly,] ‘Colm Tóibín reassessed the old lady of Coole’ [interview], Books Ireland, April 2002, p.81; Jim Marks’, review of The Blackwater Lightship [Scribner Edn.], in Washington Post, “Book World” (16-20 Dec. 2000) [see extract].
  • Tom Herron, ‘Contamination: Patrick McCabe and Colm Tóibin’s Pathologies of the Republic’, in Liam Harte, & Michael Parker, Contemporary Irish Fiction: Themes, Tropes, Theories (London: Macmillan 2000) [cp.172].
  • Cormac Ó Gradha, review of Toibín & Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Famine, in Irish Times (19 May 2000).
  • Tom Herron, ‘ContamiNation: Patrick McCabe and Colm Tóibín’s Pathographies of the Republic’, in Contemporary Irish Fiction: Themes, Tropes, Theories, ed. Liam Harte & Michael Parker (Basingstoke: Macmillan 2000), pp.168-91.
  • Joyce Carol Oates, reviewing Andrew O’Hagan & Colm Tóibín, eds., New Writing II (London: Picador 2002), in Times Literary Supplement (12 April 2002), p.11 [see extract].
  • John Gardiner, review of Colm Tóibín, Love in a Dark Time, in Times Literary Supplement (12 April 2002), p.22 [see extract].
  • John Banville’, review of Love in a Dark Time, in The Irish Times (6 April 2002), Weekend, p.8 [see extract].
  • Brenda Maddox, ‘The Queen of Coole’, review of welcomes Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush, in The Guardian (30 Aug. 2003 ).
  • Frank Kermode, ‘Meditations on The Master’ [review of The Master ], in The Irish Times (6 March 2004) [see extract].
  • Alex Clark, ‘Songs of Experience’, interview-article in The Guardian (13 March 2004) [see extract].
  • Alex Clark, ‘The Greatest Hits of an Exile’, in The Guardian (10 April, 2004.)
  • Arminta Wallace, ‘In the Shadow of a Playwright’, [nterview article with Colm Tóibín], in The Irish Times (7 Aug. 2004), p.7 [see extract].
  • Belinda McKeon, ‘An Irishman in America’ [“The Saturday Interview”], in The Irish Times (4 April 2009), Weekend Review, p.7, ill., photo by Phoebe Ling [see extract].
  • George O’Brien, ‘Cutting the apron strings’, review of Mothers and Sons, in The Irish Times (26 Aug. 2006), p.11 [see extract].
  • Paul Delaney, ed., Reading Colm Tóibín (Dublin: Liffey Press 2008), 223pp. [contribs. incl. Gerry Dawe, Anne Fogarty, Oona Frawley, Roy Foster, Liam Harte, John McCourt, Stephen Matterson, Eve Patten, Eibhear Walsh and interview with Fintan O’Toole].
  • Bernard O’Donoghue, ‘The Clear Voice of a Master’, review of Brooklyn, in The Irish Times (25 April 2010), Weekend, p.11 [see extract].
  • Gerald David Naughton, ‘Confronting the “Foreigner from Within”: (Sexual) Exile and “Indomitable Force” in the Fiction of James Baldwin and Colm Tóibín’, in Exploring Transculturalism: A Biographical Approach, ed. Wolfgang Berg & Aoileann Ní Éigeartaigh (Hackensack, VS Research [Verlag] 2010), pp.131-46.
  • John Preston, ‘Costa Book Awards: Colm Tóibín interview’, in The Telegraph (25 Jan. 2010) [see extract].
  • Alex Clark’, review of The Testament of Mary, in The Guardian (26 Oct. 2012) [see extract].
  • Mary Gordon, ‘Blessed Among Women’, review of The Testament of Mary, by Colm Tóibín, in The New York Times (11 Nov. 2012), Sunday Book Review [see extract].
  • Liam Harte, ‘Uncertain Terms, Unstable Sands: Colm Tóibín’s The Heather Blazing (1992)’, in Reading the Contemporary Irish Novel (Oxford: Blackwell 2013), pp.105-12.
  • José M. Yebra, ‘Colm Tóibín’s The Blackwater Lightship and The Master’, in Estudos Irelandeses: Journal of Irish Studies, No. 9 [Barcelona] (2014), pp.96-106.
  •  Eibhear Walshe, A Different Story: the Writings of Colm Tóibín (DUblin: IAP 2013),  viii, 224pp. [see contents].
  • Robert McCrum, review of Nora Webster [‘Colm Toibin’s powerful study of widowhood’], in The Guardian (5 Oct. 2014) [available online].
See also José M. Yebra, ‘Neo-Victorian Biofiction and Trauma Poetics in Colm Tóibín’s The Master’, in Neo-Victorian Studies, 6, 1 (2013), pp.41-74 [available online].
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See further reviews and critical observations under Commentaries, infra.

Bibliographical details
Paul Delaney, ed., Reading Colm Tóibín (Dublin: The Liffey Press 2008), incls. Eibhear Walshe, ‘“This Particular Genie”: The Elusive Gay Male Body in Tóibín’s Novels’, pp.115-30; and Fintan O’Toole, ‘An Interview with Colm Tóibín’, pp.183-208.

Eibhear Walshe, A Different Story: the Writings of Colm Tóibín (DUblin: IAP 2013), viii, 224pp. CONTENTS: 1. Travels in the Past. Walking Along the Border (1987), The Trial of the Generals (1990), The South, (1990) Homage to Barcelona (1990). 2. Escaping History: The Heather Blazing (1992), The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (1994), The Irish Famine (1999), with Diarmaid Ferriter, The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (1999), Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush (2002) Beauty in a Broken Place (2004). 3. The Gay Body: The Story of the Night (1996), The Blackwater Lightship (1999), Love in a Dark Time (2002). 4. The Victorian Closet: The Master (2004). 5. Emptying the Family: Mothers and Sons (2006), The Empty Family (2010), New Ways to Kill your Mother (2012). 6. Exile: Brooklyn (2009), The Testament of Mary (2012).

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See infra.

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See infra.

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Websites: See the “Colm Tóibín” website at [contains biographical notices by Jacob Urep Nielsen and Belinda McKeon, with interviews and related material by Roisín Ingle, Eileen Battersby, and others.

See also “Colm Tóibín” page in JRank/Biographies - www.biography/ or direct [accessed 28.07.08].

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The Heather Blazing (1992) - 1: Eamon Redmond, is a High Court judge; brought up on Wexford, and groomed by the Fianna Fáil party machine. Dermot Bolger calls him ‘an existentialist with two capital FFs, and the novel, a portrait of the vast class of ordinary people whom Ireland’s writers have singularly failed to engage with. When Eamon asks his father, a school-teacher with secret War of Independance memories about burning houses, he answers, ‘We gutted a good few of them, all right. Wilton, old Captain Skrine. The Proctors on the Bunclody Road, Castleboro.’ The Proctors have been the central characters in Tóibín’s previous novel, The South, a study of Protestant Wexford, just as The Heather Blaze is an examination of what the Proctors would call the RCs. Redmond is a reserved character, hiding the secret source of his hurt, so much so that he doesn’t even tell his wife, who hates hanging, that he has helped draft the Bill to abolish it. The novel deals with the re-emergence of his unbearable pain at with the death of a loved one, and his first steps back towards life with his grandson. [See also remarks on the preamble of the constitution under Eoin Neeson, supra.]

The Heather Blazing (1992) - 2: The Heather Blazing was favourably reviewed by the then-emerging popular novelist Nick Hornby in the Sunday Times. ‘This was just before he was Nick Hornby’, remarked Tóibín. ‘That review made a difference. It made my publishers sit up and thing, Maybe, if we market this guy, we might have something.’ (Quoted in Mick Heaney, ‘Everyone’s a Critic’ [on internet influence], in The Irish Times, Sat. 6 June 2011, Weekend Review, p.8; see also following remarks on internet critics, under Quotations, supra.)

The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (1995) - Rand richards Cooper writes: Tóibín discern[s] a new optimism afoot in his native land. In recent decades, he wrote, the traditionally dour outlook of a populace ‘desperate to hold on to the small improvements in their lot’ had given way to the confidence of ‘a new generation wandering around on a Saturday night with no innate fear.’ For the first time, being young in Ireland meant growing up in a ‘climate of hope’. (Review of Blackwater Lightship, in The New York Times [Books sect.], 10 Sept. 2000; see longer extract and full-text copy - as attached; accessed 14.03.2021.)

The Blackwater Lightship (1999) - 1: set in Ireland in the early 1990s; concerns the Devereux family, three of whom - Lily Devereux, her mother Dora and her daughter Helen [O’Doherty] - arrive at an uneasy peace after years of strife when Declan, Helen’s brother, begs to be taken to the family home in Co. Waterford as he approaches death from AIDS, accompanied by two of his gay friends. The novel revives memories of childhood, follow Lily’s husband’s early death and her remote love for her children. (For background to the death-of-father scene, see under Ivor Browne, in Quotations [infra].)

See also - TV Film version of Tóibín’s novel The Blackwater Lightship (2004), dir. by John Erman; film-script by Sean Connaughton, with Angela Lansbury as Mrs Devereux, Dianne Wiest as Lily and Gina McKee as Helen; Keith McErlean as Declan; Brian F. O’Byrne as Larry, and Sam Robards as Paul. Reviewed by Rex Reed: ‘You are enriched by the positive ways people who never dreamed their lives would lead them to this predicament learn to cope and join together and make their differences work. Unlike most of the first-run movies that are made today, The Blackwater Lightship has a central, life-affirming theme: We all make mistakes, but forgiveness is the thing that defines love and leads to peace. What is a film this simultaneously heartbreaking and life-affirming doing on television?’ (‘Angie, Baby!’, NY Observer, 2 Feb. 2004.)

The Blackwater Lightship (1999) - Wikiwand: The story is set in Dublin and County Wexford and described from the viewpoint of Helen, a successful school principal living with her husband and two children in Ireland. She learns one day, that her brother Declan, who is homosexual, has been ill with AIDS for years, and refused to tell her until then. He asks her to deliver their mother and grandmother the news. This presents a challenge to Helen as she has had minimal contact with the two women due to deeply buried conflicts relating to Helen's past and her father's sudden death when she was a child. As the three women meet again they are forced to overcome these struggles for Declan's sake. The novel follows the painful journey they must take in order to correct the misunderstanding that exists between them. (See The Blackwater Lightship, in Wikiwand [Wikipedia] - online; accessed 14.03.2021.)

Beauty in a Broken Place: At its centre are the infamous riots that attended the first productions of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, provoked by such dramatic incidents as the bringing of the tricolour into a pub, and the presence there of Rosie Redmond, the prototypical prostitute. Wouldn’t it still make the blood boil in your veins? It is a debate that, skilfully manipulated, is as relevant now as then, in the modern equivalents of patriotism and morality. Donal O’Kelly as O’Casey leads a cast of stalwarts. They will be directed by Niall Henry, artistic director of Sligo’s Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, who usually makes a worthwhile difference. Peacock Theatre Previews, 8.15pm also Sat 2.45pm €17/€12.50; 01-8787222. (Gerry Colgan, The Irish Times, “The Ticket” [online], 14 Aug. 2004; for full text, see also review, infra.)]

Brookyn (2009): Written in Tóibín’s usual style of imaginative inwardness, it narrates the life in America of Eilis Lacey, who is forced to emigrate in the 1950s and finds a new life of opportunities in New York, but is called home by family obligations when her sister dies, finds new happiness in her family and gets engaged, until her Brooklyn land-lady reveals to a relative at home that she has already married in America, forcing her to return. The novel incorporates a sensitive study of the lives and experiences of less fortunate emigrants and includes a scene in which a famous sean nós singer turns up at New York centre for the unemployed run by an Irish priest where Eilis is helping out with catering. (Note that the theme of emigration and bigamy was earlier treated in a London setting by Maeve Binchy in Deeply Regretted By ... (1979).

Filmed by John Crowley in 2015 with a script by Nick Hornby and with Saoirse Ronan as Eilis. Ronan was nominated for Best Actress on the Hollywood Golden Globe awards,, Jan. 2016 - and won the British Independent Film Best Actress Award.

Nora Webster (2014): Set in Wexford, Ireland, it concerns the title character, widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, who has lost the love of her life, Maurice. Maurice the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born an nd now she fears she may be sucked back into it. Wounded, selfish, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning insight and empathy, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven - herself. Reviewers said: ‘heartrendingly transcendant’ (Janet Maslin, NY Times); ‘[It] may actually be a perfect work of fiction’ (LA Times); ‘beautiful and daring’ (NYT Book Review); ‘Miraculous ... Tóibín portrays Nora with tremendous sympathy and understanding’ (Ron Charles, The Washington Post). (See Amazon Books - online; accessed 14.03.2021.)

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Homage to Barcelona: At the end of his student days, Tóibín heard that he could teach Barcelona. ‘“The minute they said it, I said it, “Yes, I’m going”’, he said, and left after his final exams, arriving in Spain in Sept. 1975. (See Alex Clark, ‘The Greatest Hits of an Exile’, in The Guardian (10 April, 2004.)

Name-caller: Tóibín credited with providing name for publisher Mike Hogan’s company KCD, owner of 38 journals including the Boyzone fanclub organ and Magill (purchased from Vincent Browne for rumoured £250,000 in Oct. 1998), when he gave him the advice, ‘Keep costs down’. (Irish Times, 17 Oct. 1998, p.7.).

IASIL/Barcelona: Addressing the IASIL Conference in Barcelona in 1999, shortly after the publication of Homage to Catalonia, Tóibín gave an account of similarities between Ireland and that country during their respective revolutionary upheavals, capturing brilliantly the amalgam of modernism and conservatism which went towards the making of the political and artistic upheavals which have left so strong a mark on each in this century. Dominech and Gaudi, Picasso and Miro were all part of the fabric of his lecture [...]. An enthusiastic reception from the IASIL audience, including especially the conference hosts, confirmed that Tóibín had struck deep chords in bringing his love of Catalonia, which he has known intimately since 1975, to such a pitch of intellectual and emotional understanding. (IASIL Newsletter, CUA 2002).

Booker shortlist: The Master (2004), was short-listed for $90,000 Booker Prize, 2004, losing to Allan Hollingworth’s The Line of Beauty. The party given for the two Picador writers took place on two floors of Soho House and included among the guests Anne Enright Roddy Doyle and Ruth Scurr (who had given The Master an ecstatic review). The publisher was said to be ‘conflicted’ by the competition between its two candidates. (See NY Times, 24 Oct. 2004 - online.)

Conflicted? The NY Times (4 July 2004) recommended The Master as a ‘deeply considered, crisply delivered novel whose hero is Henry James, of all writers the most ambiguous about the issue of secret sexuality’, calling its author ‘a gay Irishman, sees in James an opacity, a failure of passion, a coldness and evasiveness that may conflict with the apparent happiness and sociability recalled by many who knew the real James.’ [NY Times Online.]

Literary agent: Tóibín’s first literary agent, who accepted The South, was Imogen Parker; his agent is A. P. Watt at October 2002.

Big impact: Colm Tóibín became the anon. author of an abrasive article on Mike Murphy’s Arts Show in the Sunday Independent while still serving as a house contributor to the paper. [’q. source.]

Big IMPAC: Colm Tóibín was among the judges of the IMPAC International Dublin Literary Award (£100,000).

Fave book (1): Tóibín chooses Tim Robinson, Aran: Pilgrimage in ‘The Best of Tomes’, Guardian Magazine (8 Dec 1995), p.23; see further above and under Robinson, infra); also praised poems by Michael O’Loughlan and a work on Alexandria.

Fave book (2): Tóibín chooses Alice Kaplan, The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach (Chicago UP) and Brendan Barrington, ed., Francis Stuart’s Wartime Broadcasts 1942-1944 (Lilliput Press) in “Writer’s Book Choice”, in Times Literary Supplement (1 December 2000).

Kith & Kin: Tóibín’s father published Enniscorthy: History and Heritage (q.d.) and was associated with a local priest in establishing a museum in a prominent local site (a castle).

Écrire l’Europe/Writing Europe (2003), the Franco-Irish Literary festival, Dublin Castle (chaired by Michael Cronin); invited Irish authors incl. Colm Tóibín, Keith Ridgeway, Evelyn Conlon, Peter Fallon, Moya Cannon.

Desert Island Discs” - Colm Tóibín is the guest of presenter Kirsty Young (BBC4) - Friday, 1 Jan. 2016: Tóibín’s selection of 8 tracks begins with Martin Hayes (Irish fiddle), Maighread & Triona Ní Dhomhnaill accomp. by Dónal Lunny, followed by Joni Mitchell (“The last time I say Richard”) and Joan Sutherland (singing Balfe’s “I Dreamt I Dwelt ...”), Kathleen Ferrier (“Blow the Wind Southerly”), The Johnstons (cover of Leonard Cohen’s “That’s not the way to say goodbye”), Georges Bizet (The Pearl-Fishers (Fr.) - ‘?Au fond du temple saint?’ - Act 1, duet sung by John McCormack and Giuseppe Mario Sammarco, and Iarla Ó Lionáird (“Casadh an tSúgáin”, from the film of his novel Brooklyn). Remarks: ‘It’s amazing what democracy can do for night life.’ On homosexuality, he recalls that his mother didn’t talk about it but asked a sister, ‘Is she happy?’ Responding to a question about his saying that he was ‘appalled by the idea of a philosophy of life’: ‘Ah well, you know, I think we don’t know ... all these philosophers, we could name them all, we still have no clue where we go when we die, we‘ve no proof of anything, God, we don’t know about God, I mean really .. so you’d be much better off, in my view, not to worry about that at all, especially if your a novelist ... tell the story, get on with the business of what did he do next, what did she think then, who did she see coming in the door, but if you think “Oh I must deal with the large question of our being, of existence in my novel”, well, that would kill a novel, really kill one’re always working with small images, small details, where the bottle was on the table, for a second she sipped water, or almost did ...’. Speaks of a boy-friend in Los Angeles who is a body-surfer; ‘Swimming is fun - writing is not’. For the desert island, he takes A Portrait of a Lady by Henry James and a pair of scissors ... correction, a pen and paper ... and the Irish song “Donal Óg” - because people have been ‘singing it’ and ‘handing it down’ for centuries.

Film script debut: ‘Colm Tóibín’s screenwriting debut, Return to Montauk, has been given a warm welcome at the Berlin Film Festival. The film, a collaboration with German director Volker Schlöndorff, is in competition for the Golden Bear prize on Sunday evening. It tells of a novelist whose New York book promotion tour turns into a trip down memory lane. Inspired by, though not adapted from, a novel by Swiss author Max Frisch, this German-Irish co-production stars Sweden’s Stellan Skarsgård, Germany’s Nina Hoss and Ireland’s Bronagh Gallagher. The influential Variety magazine praised the film as a return to form for Schlöndorff, who is best known for his Oscar-winning adaption of Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum. [...]’ (See Derek Scally, reporting from Berlin, in The Irish Times, 1 Feb. 2017 - available online; accessed 19.02.2017.)

Writers’ bloc: Writes a six-page letter to Arts Council Director Orlaith McBride protesting againat imposition of productivity accounts from artists in receipt of grants including the Aos Dana cnuas - a five-year annual stipend worth just over €17,000: ‘The first problem with this, as I am sure you will agree, is that the phrase “working artists engaged in productive practice” sounds oddly North Korean, or is like a phrase that could have been used by Stalin about recalcitrant farmers in the Soviet Union” He continued: ‘While I am not seeking a cnuas, and never have sought one, I presume I am a working artist, but I have not written a single word since last November. I can’t think of anything. Sentences won’t come. I can’t force them. I don’t know when I will start writing again. I do nothing most of the time. I am waiting. That is what artists do sometimes.’ (See Mark Hilliard, writing in The Irish Times, 21 April 2017 - online.)

The Essay (BBC3): Toibin gave a talk on Stoker for “The Essay” (BBC3) on 17 April 2012 - second among five contributions to the 15-min slot. He was preceded by Catherine Wynne and followed by Christopher Frayling. (Go online; accessed 04.10.2017). The other speakers were Roger Luckhurst, and Jarlath Killeen. (Go online; accessed 04.10.2017.)

Tóibín on Stoker - “The Essay” - BBC3 - online.

The Richard Ellmann Memorial Lecture (Emory Univ. 2017): Tóibín delivered three lectures at Emory University, Atlanta (Georgia USA) over the days 12-14 Nov. 2017, on the theme of ‘Wilde, Joyce and Yeats: Three Writers and Their Fathers’. Ellmann, the biographer of Yeats, Wilde and Joyce, was the holder of the Woodruff Chair at Emory. Previous speakers in the series incl. David Lodge, A. S. Byatt, Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa, Umberto Eco, Margaret Atwood (2010) and Paul Simon (2013). The current series was introduced by Richard Schuchard, emeritus professor of English at Emory, and Geraldine Higgins, Assoc. Professor English. The lectures were reprinted in the London Review of Books in issues of Nov. & Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2018.

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