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Colm Tóibín

From a deserted Venice to the inner lives of great contemporary writers, ‘A Guest at the Feast’, Tóibín's breathtaking collection of characteristically eloquent and insightful essays, covers a wide range of topics with wit, intelligence and grace.

In his essay about the life of Irish writer John McGahern, Tóibín reveals the tones of melancholy and amusement within both art and the artist. In his extraordinary essay on his cancer diagnosis, Tóibín unpicks the word 'battle', and illuminates the distress, horror and blankness of his experiences.

From the shades of light and dark in a Venice without tourists, to the streets of Buenos Aires riddled with disappearances and tied up with dictators and politics, we find ourselves considering law and religion in Ireland as well as in Marilynne Robinson's fiction.

‘A Guest at the Feast’ reveals the places where politics and poetics meet, where life and fiction overlap, where one can be inside writing and also outside of it. The imprint of the written word on the private self, as Tóibín himself remarks, is extraordinarily powerful. In this collection, that power is gloriously alive, illuminating history and literature, politics and power, family and the self.

Colm Tóibín is the author of ten novels, including ‘The Magician’, winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize; ‘The Master’, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; ‘Brooklyn’, winner of the Costa Book Award; ‘The Testament of Mary’ and ‘Nora Webster‘, as well as two story collections and several books of criticism.

He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and has been named as the Laureate for Irish Fiction for 2022–2024 by Arts Council Ireland. Three times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.

“No living novelist dramatises artistic creation as profoundly, as luminously, as Colm Tóibín, or conveys so well the entanglement of imagination and desire. Reading him is among the deepest pleasures our literature can offer”.
-Garth Greenwell

“I love everything Colm Tóibín has written”.
-Nicola Sturgeon

This is an online-only event. A YouTube link will be uploaded to this page at last one hour before the event.

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House of Names

Paperback, 05/04/2018, £9.99


Paperback, 03/03/2022, £9.99

Vinegar Hill

Paperback, 31/03/2022, £12.99
From the bestselling author of Brooklyn, Colm Toibin's first collection of poetry explores travel, sexuality, religion and family.

The Story of the Night

Paperback, 07/03/2008, £9.99
A difficult and honest love story by Colm Toibin.

The Empty Family: Stories

Paperback, 30/06/2011, £9.99
From the young Pakistani immigrant who seeks some kind of permanence in a strange town to the Irish woman reluctantly returning to Dublin and discovering a city that refuses to acknowledge her long absence.

A Guest at the Feast

Hardback, 03/11/2022, £16.99


Paperback, 07/06/2018, £9.99

Mothers and Sons

Paperback, 07/09/2007, £8.99
A collection of nine stories focusing on a moment in which an unspoken balance shifts; in which a mother and son do battle, or experience a sudden crisis, thus leaving their conception of who they are subtly or seriously altered.

Lady Gregory's Toothbrush

Paperback, 05/09/2003, £8.99
This sharp and stylish biography redefines the woman George Bernard Shaw once described as 'the greatest living Irishwoman' - Augusta Gregory.

Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar

Paperback, 21/05/2010, £9.99
In this perceptive and rich collection of essays, Colm Toibin investigates the lives as well as the work of homosexual writers and artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The Master

Paperback, 07/03/2019, £9.99
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2004, a remarkable novel about Henry James, the American-born novelist and a connoisseur of exile.

Testament of Mary

Paperback, 04/07/2013, £8.99
For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.

Nora Webster

Paperback, 29/01/2015, £9.99
It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them.

Heather blazing

Paperback, 01/09/1993, £8.99
It is impossible to read Toibin without being moved, touched and finally changed' Independent on Sunday


Paperback, 01/01/2015, £9.99
With an introduction by Roy Foster. A classic work of Irish literature, this award-winning novel is an exploration of love, art and identity.
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