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The Master of Irish fiction and author of 'Nora Webster' gives A WRITER’S RESPONSE at THE BLUECOAT, LIVERPOOL

Colm Tóibín, Ireland’s foremost novelist, is visiting the Bluecoat to respond to our current Biennial exhibition on James McNeill Whistler.

Born in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Colm Tóibín’s career as a writer began as a journalist in Ireland in the 1980s. His first novel, The South, which was published in 1990, was followed by others such as The Heather Blazing in 1992 and The Blackwater Lightship in 1999. In 2004, his novel on Henry James, The Master, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Brooklyn, a sensitive exploration of the experience of an Irish emigrant in the United States, won the Costa Novel of the Year in 2009. Originally a play, his novel, The Testament of Mary, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013. His eighth novel, Nora Webster, which returns to the terrain of his native Enniscorthy, has just been published. He is currently Professor of English at Columbia University in New York. 

Tóibín, in addition to being an accomplished novelist, has produced two collections of short stories. A versatile author, one of his remarkable talents is his ability to move with ease between different forms of writing from creative writing to literary scholarship and journalism. In 2010, he published All a Novelist Needs, a collection of essays on Henry James; he also edited a volume of writings by Oscar Wilde for Penguin Classics in 2012.  He regularly contributes extensive articles to both the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books.  

Chair of Pen World Voices in New York, he is a writer who is conscious of the social responsibilities of his role. I myself came to know him as an affable and committed member of the board of the Arts Council of Ireland on which he served between 2006 and 2013.

Colm will read from his new novel, Nora Webster. It will also be fascinating to hear how he responds to the Bluecoat’s current Whistler exhibition. As an expert on Henry James it will be intriguing to hear his views on how these artistic personalities related to each other – or otherwise – as American expatriates in the hothouse of late-nineteenth-century London. And that’s not to mention Wilde – another of Colm’s specialisms…MARY CLOAKE 


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About the Bluecoat

Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat showcases talent across visual art, music, dance, live art and literature. As the most ...

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