How has Nick Hornby become the go-to literary screenwriter, now adapting Tóibín's Brooklyn for a film starring Rooney Mara? Either people really liked An Education or it's because Hornby's wife is again producing.
Predicting future Nobel Prize honorees is a thankless, largely pointless pastime, yet it's true that everything the Nobel winners in literature have, Colm Tóibín has too: an impressive body of novels illuminating an overlooked group of people, many books of nonfiction, journalism, history, and travel, a staggering and seemingly effortless range of important critical essays, vision, verve, and gravitas.
After being rejected by twenty publishers over two and half years, Tóibín’s debut novel The South was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and won the Irish Times/Aer Lingus prize for first novel. Two years later his second novel, The Heather Blazing, won the Encore Prize. His third novel, the widely-prized The Story of the Night, set in Argentina, is included on Publishing Triangle’s list of the 100 best lesbian & gay novels. The Blackwater Lightship, his fourth, exploring the fractious family relations as a young man with aids comes back to die in County Wexford, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was adapted for a tv movie starring Angela Lansbury and Dianne Wiest. The Master, his revelatory novel about Henry James, was an international bestseller. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, named one of the New York Times’ ten best books of the year, won the LA Times Novel of the Year award, and won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, worth 100,000 Euros.
His Brooklyn was a highlight of 2009, when it was a bestseller and won a Costa award. Tóibín's current Lammy finalist, The Empty Family, is flat-out magnificent. Only two weeks until the publication of his essay collection, New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families [Kindle].