Colm Toibin – the Master, who should have won the Booker in 2004 Image

Author Colm Toibin was today nominated again for the Man Booker prize. In 2004, I interviewed him on the eve the US publication of his wonderful novel, The Master, which was subsequently nominated for the 2004 Booker Prize and should have won that year’s prize. The interview, commissioned by US magazine Publisher’s Weekly, and was held in Toibin’s atmospheric Georgian house off Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Square. After the interview (link below) the always sociable Tobin confessed to his desire to crack America – which he did with his 2009 novel, Brooklyn. He also gave me advice on being editor of Magill magazine, a position I was about to assume and one he had done during the magazine’s ground breaking years in the 1980s.


Through the medium of Henry James, and Tóibín’s imaginative recreation of him, we find ourselves assessing all these realities. On one level, it is about the exacting price of one person’s continuous creativity, but on another level, it is also a universal story, about loneliness and purpose and human destiny. “Oh, the experience is universal,” he admits. “James could have been a businessman. With all that energy, he could have been a shipping agent.” It’s about all of humanity and the ordering of one’s existence—how much for work, how much for living? And for what sort of living?