Author(s): Colm Toibin
In his essay on Tennessee Williams, Colm Toibin reveals an artist profoundly tormented by his sister's mental illness. Through the relationship between W.B. Yeats and his father, Toibin examines a world of family relations, and in Roddy Doyle's writing on his parents illuminates an Ireland reinvented. From John Cheever's journals Toibin makes flesh this darkly comic misanthrope and his intimates. "Educating an intellectual woman," Cheever remarked, "is like letting a rattlesnake into the house." In pieces that range from the importance of aunts (and the death of parents) in the English nineteenth-century novel to the relationship between fathers and sons in the writing of James Baldwin and Barack Obama, Colm Toibin illuminates not only the intimate connections between writers and their families but also articulates, with a rare tenderness and wit, the great joy of reading their work.
Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six previous novels, collections of short stories (Mothers and Sons, and The Empty Family) and many works of non-fiction. He has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Master (2004), and longlisted for Brooklyn. The Master won The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (2006), and Brooklyn won the Costa Novel Award. He currently lives in Dublin.