The Arts Council of Ireland has announced that writer Colm Tóibín has been appointed as the Laureate for Irish Fiction 2022-2024.
He is taking over the laureateship from Sebastian Barry, who followed inaugural Laureate Anne Enright. His three-year term will begin this month.
The Laureate for Irish Fiction is an initiative of the Arts Council. The role seeks to acknowledge the contribution of fiction writers to Irish artistic and cultural life by honouring an established Irish writer of fiction, encouraging a new generation of writers, promoting Irish literature nationally and internationally and encouraging the public to engage with high quality Irish fiction.
Born in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford in 1955 and educated at University College Dublin, Tóibín is widely regarded as one of the preeminent Irish writers of the modern age.
He first novel was 'The South' (1990) and he has also written books such as 'Brooklyn' (2009), 'House of Names' (2017) and most recently 'The Magician' (2021).
He has taught at Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, Princeton University, the University of Manchester and Columbia University, and he is Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.
Chair of the Arts Council, Professor Kevin Rafter said:
"The Arts Council is very proud to award Colm Tóibín the honour of Laureate for Irish Fiction from 2022 to 2024. Colm is one of our finest writers with a recognised international reputation.
"His novels and short stories are not just acclaimed by critics but they are also loved by readers. I know he will bring his tremendous intellect, and endless energy and empathy, to the role of Laureate for Irish Fiction."
When asked about his appointment, Tóibín said he was honoured to be appointed.
"I am proud to follow Anne Enright and Sebastian Barry in establishing a public role for a writer of fiction in Ireland," he said.
"I will do what I can to work with a community of readers so that fiction continues to enrich our lives, allow us to see the world more clearly, or with a deepened sense of mystery. I will also work with fellow writers and aspiring writers to enhance the role novels and stories play in Irish life."
He will begin his public programme following today's announcement, beginning with presenting 'The Art of Reading' - a monthly book club for library book clubs across the country and offered as an online event for readers everywhere on the last Thursday of every month.
Over the course of the year, Tóibín will discuss a selection of titles by Irish writers, highlighting outstanding Irish writing and celebrating the reader and book clubs. In some cases, the Laureate will be joined by the featured writer in conversation about their book. The first online book club event will be available for streaming on Thursday 24 February. In this event Colm will be in conversation with Claire Keegan about her recent book 'Small Things Like These'.
For more information on The Art of Reading and other Laureate events, visit www.artscouncil.ie/laureate