Know Your History – 30th May – Colm Toibin born

know your history - writing

On this day… 30th May, 1955 – Colm Toibin

Colm Tóibín (born 30 May 1955) is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic and poet. He was hailed as a champion of minorities as he collected the 2011 Irish PEN Award. In 2011, he was named one of Britain’s Top 300 Intellectuals by The Observer.

On Writing

“I have to write a first draft with a fountain pen before I type it up as a second,” he explains. “John Lanchester and Philip Hensher do the same. I bumped into them the other night and we were all doing our pen talk.”

Tóibín once told a class that “you have to be a terrible monster to write. I said, ‘Someone might have told you something they shouldn’t have told you, and you have to be prepared to use it because it Colm Toibin quotewill make a great story. You have to use it even though the person is identifiable. If you can’t do it then writing isn’t for you. You’ve no right to be here. If there is any way I can help you get into law school then I will. Your morality will be more useful in a courtroom.’”

Did You Know?..

Tóibín was 12 when he started writing, the year his father, a teacher, died.

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