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  April 16, 2001

Irish Novelist Colm Toibin to Speak

Irish novelist, journalist and scholar Colm Toibin will read from his most recent novel on Wednesday, April 25, at 7 p.m. in the William Benton Museum. The reading, organized by the English Department, will be followed by a book-signing and reception. All are invited to attend.

The novel from which Toibin will read, The Blackwater Lightship, was short-listed for the 1999 Booker Prize for fiction, and has been received with much critical acclaim. Publisher's Weekly describes the novel as "a delicately powerful story of a family's failure to face difficult feelings," and Kirkus Reviews calls it a "masterfully intense tale of woe and redemption."

Toibin is the author of three previous novels: The South; The Heather Blazing; and The Story of the Night, which won the 1998 Ferro-Grumley Award for best gay novel and is on the Lambda list of the 100 best gay novels of all time. Toibin has also written Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border; Homage to Barcelona; and The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe, and he is the editor of The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (2000).

Toibin will speak as part of the Gerson Memorial Irish Literature Reading Series. Elizabeth Shanley Gerson '48 was a lifelong reader of Irish literature, which she loved. The Elizabeth Shanley Gerson '48 Memorial Fund was established in 1997 in her memory. Each year a major Irish writer is invited by the English Department to read from his or her work, as a way of celebrating Elizabeth Shanley Gerson's life.

Other speakers in this series have been novelist Edna O'Brien, poet Eamon Grennan, and novelist Colum McCann.

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