Campus News

Author Colm Toibin coming to UGA as Delta Visiting Chair

The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts will welcome internationally acclaimed Irish writer Colm Toibin to the University of Georgia as the second annual Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding March 15-17.

The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts will welcome internationally acclaimed Irish writer Colm Toibin to the University of Georgia as the second annual Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding March 15-17.

Toibin will hold public speaking events on and off the UGA campus, as well as participate in more personal interactions with students and faculty during his visit.

The Delta Visiting Chair, established by the Willson Center through the support of The Delta Air Lines Foundation, hosts outstanding global scholars, leading creative thinkers, artists and intellectuals who teach and perform research at UGA. Its first honoree was Alice Walker in 2015.

The chair is founded upon the legacy of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding, which from 1997-2011 was presented to individuals including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ted Turner, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, whose initiatives promoted world peace by advancing understanding and cooperation among cultures and nations.

Toibin is a prize-winning novelist, short-story writer, dramatist and critic whose works have been translated into more than 30 languages. He is the author of the acclaimed novels The Master and Brooklyn, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and a contributing editor at the London Review of Books.

“Colm Toibin’s writing addresses our ideas of home, identity, love and belonging,” said Nicholas Allen, Franklin Professor of English and director of the Willson Center. “Toibin is also an illuminating critic who brings his sharp intelligence to bear on literature from the classics to the present. His reading and conversations will speak to the diversity of students across the campus. Ireland possesses one of the world’s great literary traditions, and Toibin is one of its leading contemporary artists. Ireland shares deep connections with Georgia, which we will celebrate during Toibin’s visit in the week of St. Patrick’s Day.”

The first public event of Toibin’s visit will be a March 15 screening of the 2015 film adaptation of his 2009 novel Brooklyn at Cine, 234 W. Hancock Ave. A public reception and book signing event with Avid Bookshop will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the CineLab, followed by the screening at 7:30 p.m., which is open free to the public but with limited seating available. Toibin will take part in an audience question-and-answer session after the film.

On March 16 at 3:30 p.m., Toibin will give a reading and talk, “Staying Home, Leaving Home: Ireland and America,” in the Chapel. It will be followed by a book signing event at Avid Bookshop on Prince Avenue at 6 p.m.

On March 17 at 7 p.m., Toibin will have a public conversation in the Seney-Stovall Chapel with Irish writer and editor Fintan O’Toole, followed by a special St. Patrick’s Day performance by singer Iarla
O Lionaird. O’Toole is a columnist, literary editor and drama critic for the Irish Times and one of Ireland’s leading public intellectuals.

O Lionaird is one of Ireland’s most renowned singers. He is a member of The Gloaming and performed Casadh an tSugain (Twisting the Rope) in Brooklyn.

From March 15-25 in the Barrow Hall Gallery, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences will host “1950s Fashion Inspired by Colm Toibin’s ‘Brooklyn,’ ” an exhibit from the college’s historic clothing collection curated by Monica Sklar, an assistant professor of textiles, merchandising and interiors. See for more information.

Toibin has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize for his novels The Blackwater Lightship (1999), The Master (2004) and The Testament of Mary (2012). The Master won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Stonewall Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award and was named Novel of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. Brooklyn won the Costa Novel Award, and the film, adapted by screenwriter Nick Hornby, directed by John Crowley and starring Saoirse Ronan, was nominated for three Academy Awards: best picture, best actress and best adapted screenplay.

“The Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding is an opportunity to showcase the excellence and diversity of research in the humanities and arts at the University of Georgia,” said UGA Vice President for Research David Lee. “It involves students, faculty and the community in culture and creativity, and I invite you to share in these readings and conversations about the relationship between Ireland and America in the literature and film of Colm Toibin.”