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Writer Colm Tóibín to visit ECU, Feb. 23 & 24

A photo of the writer from his website,
GREENVILLE   (Feb. 15, 2011)   —   Award-winning writer Colm Tóibín will visit East Carolina University for events next week, including a public reading at the Greenville Museum of Art.

Born in County Wexford, Ireland, Tóibín is the author of several works, including "The Master” (2004), the L.A. Times Novel of Year and Booker Prized finalist, and "Brooklyn" (2009), Costa Novel of the Year. He is the Leonard Milberg Lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University.

Tóibín will be on the ECU campus as part of the new Contemporary Writers’ Series, which is sponsored by the ECU Office of Graduate Research and the Department of English. The series exposes students and other readers to award-winning fiction and nonfiction writers, translators and poets.

Tóibín will present a lecture on "The Art of Fiction" at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 23 in the Bate Building, room 1031.
The writer will meet with members of the ECU community during an “Afternoon Tea with Colm Tóibín” at 4 p.m. Feb. 24 in Joyner Library. Later that day, he will give a public reading from his work at 7:30 p.m. at the Greenville Museum of Art, 802 Evans Street.

All events are free and open to the university community and public.

Tom Douglass, associate professor of English at ECU, said Tóibín is a wonderful choice as the first writer to visit campus through the new Contemporary Writers’ Series.

“Colm Tóibín is a quiet writer of immense power. Things in his fiction walk up to you quietly and announce themselves in your heart and conscience with startling force. His reputation internationally is still growing, and he is more well-known in the UK and the Commonwealth countries than he is here,” he said.

“It is a notable event for ECU to have him visit us – he is a writer’s writer in the tradition of Jane Austen, and Henry James, and the Irish champion, James Joyce,” Douglass said.

During his time on campus, Tóibín will also meet with graduate and undergraduate students, Douglass said, adding, “We hope to follow his visit with other writers of national and international reputation like Margaret Atwood, Colum McCann, and Sherman Alexie.”

Tóibín, born in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland in 1955, studied at University College Dublin and lived in Barcelona between 1975 and 1978. Out of his experience in Barcelona, he produced two books, the novel, “The South,” shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and winner of the Irish Times/Aer Lingus First Fiction Award, and “Homage to Barcelona,” both published in 1990. His other novels include, “The Heather Blazing,” “The Story of the Night,” and “The Blackwater Lightship.” His short fiction includes “Mothers and Sons” and “The Empty Family,” published in 2010.

He has twice been named Stein Visiting Writer at Stanford University and also a visiting writer at the Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He was also the art critic for the UK edition of Esquire magazine from 2007 to 2010.

For more information about Tóibín’s visit or the Contemporary Writers Series at ECU, contact Douglass at or Liza Wieland, also with the Department of English, at