St. Joseph’s University, New York welcomed accomplished Irish author Colm Tóibín to the Brooklyn Campus on Wednesday, Jan. 25, for the latest installment of the Brooklyn Voices series.
Tóibín read excerpts from his latest release, “A Guest at the Feast,” a collection of essays published in 2022. Readings focused on the death of his mother, his battle with cancer and coming of age in 1960s Ireland.
A sizeable audience of the University community and the general public attended the event hosted jointly by SJNY’s Writer’s Foundry and Greenlight Bookstore. Tóibín took questions from attendees after he read.
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The Night’s Proceedings
Brooklyn Campus Associate Dean Mik Larson and Greenlight Bookstore owner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo introduced Tóibín, who provided comedic anecdotes in between otherwise affecting readings.
Tóibín spoke endearingly about his relationship with his late mother, who imparted a love of literature to him. She passed away in 2000, but her continued influence on him is apparent in his writing.
Talking about his encounter with cancer, Tóibín said: “I (fought) my battle against cancer by staring straight ahead,” but later acknowledged how humbling the experience was.
Audience questions generally focused on Tóibín’s writing process, of which he spoke willingly and candidly.
About the Author
Tóibín – who splits time living between New York and Dublin – published his first novel, “The South,” in 1990 and has since published nine others. His 2004 release, “The Master,” received critical acclaim and won the International Dublin Literary Award, the Lambda Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award.
In 2009, Tóibín published “Brooklyn,” a novel about a young Irish woman who immigrated to New York City in the 1950s. It was shortlisted for the 2011 International Dublin Literary Award and won the 2009 Costa Novel Award.
From 2017 to 2022, he served as chancellor of the University of Liverpool. He’s taught in different capacities at many prestigious institutions in the United States, including Stanford University, Princeton University, New York University and Boston College. Tóibín currently teaches at New York’s Columbia University.