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Colm Tóibín (ONLINE): A Guest at the Feast

Colm Tóibín (ONLINE): A Guest at the Feast

From a deserted Venice to the inner lives of great contemporary writers, ‘A Guest at the Feast’, Tóibín's breathtaking collection of characteristically eloquent and insightful essays, covers a wide range of topics with wit, intelligence and grace.

In his essay about the life of Irish writer John McGahern, Tóibín reveals the tones of melancholy and amusement within both art and the artist. In his extraordinary essay on his cancer diagnosis, Tóibín unpicks the word 'battle', and illuminates the distress, horror and blankness of his experiences.

From the shades of light and dark in a Venice without tourists, to the streets of Buenos Aires riddled with disappearances and tied up with dictators and politics, we find ourselves considering law and religion in Ireland as well as in Marilynne Robinson's fiction.

‘A Guest at the Feast’ reveals the places where politics and poetics meet, where life and fiction overlap, where one can be inside writing and also outside of it. The imprint of the written word on the private self, as Tóibín himself remarks, is extraordinarily powerful. In this collection, that power is gloriously alive, illuminating history and literature, politics and power, family and the self.

This event will be chaired by Carlo Gebler

Colm Tóibín is the author of ten novels, including ‘The Magician’, winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize; ‘The Master’, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; ‘Brooklyn’, winner of the Costa Book Award; ‘The Testament of Mary’ and ‘Nora Webster‘, as well as two story collections and several books of criticism.

He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and has been named as the Laureate for Irish Fiction for 2022–2024 by Arts Council Ireland. Three times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.

This is an online-only event. Click this link at 8pm to be taken to our YouTube channel where you'll be able to watch Colm's event.

“No living novelist dramatises artistic creation as profoundly, as luminously, as Colm Tóibín, or conveys so well the entanglement of imagination and desire. Reading him is among the deepest pleasures our literature can offer”.
-Garth Greenwell

“I love everything Colm Tóibín has written”.
-Nicola Sturgeon


The Shape of Things to Come, our forward-thinking Book Festival returns this autumn. Running from Friday 18 November to the following Sunday 27 November 2022, Folkestone Book Festival will present a celebration of writing, reading, thinking and debate.

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How’s your reading list? Look no further than the Canterbury Christ Church University Book Shop for all of your essential Folkestone Book Festival reads. Click here for more information and to buy books.



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