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Photo: Tim Knox/the Guardian

Colm Tóibín named Laureate for Irish Fiction until 2024

Colm Tóibín has been named as the new laureate for Irish fiction, following in the footsteps of RCW authors Anne Enright and Sebastian Barry. The three-year role is intended to “acknowledge the contribution of fiction writers to Irish artistic and cultural life”, as well as to encourage new writers, and engagement with “high quality Irish fiction”.

The Arts Council of Ireland, which runs the initiative, described Colm Tóibín as “one of our finest writers”, whose award-winning novels – from The Master to Brooklyn – “are not just acclaimed by critics but they are also loved by readers”.

Colm Tóibín said he was “honoured” to be appointed to a role which was first filled by Anne Enright, and then by Barry. “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,” said the author. “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 role with a monthly book club, The Art of Reading, in which he will discuss “outstanding” Irish writing, sometimes interviewing the authors of the books he is discussing. The event, which will be offered online on the last Thursday of every month, kicks off on 24 February, when Tóibín will be talking to Claire Keegan about her recent book Small Things Like These.

It is, said Colm Tóibín, “quite an exciting time to be a reader in Ireland”. “It is as though here in Ireland there’s still things to be said that no one has worked out a way to say yet, and it is as though writers are putting up flags, and big flags, over a place, over a sensibility, or over a story that has not yet been told or else needs a new version.”

Click here for The Arts Council

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