First Irish Winner of IMPAC Award
By Michelle Harty Contributor
August / September 2006
Colm Tóibín on June 13 became the first Irish author to be awarded the interna- tional IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his novel The Master. The award is the largest of its kind, with a prize of $125,000. A four- judge panel from Britain, Canada, Ireland, and Italy chose between 132 novels from 43 coun- tries and in translation from 15 non-English languages. The Master is a fictional portrayal of the life of author Henry James, a man born in 19th-century America who traveled Europe in pursuit of love and art. James is successful in only the latter, and the story that unfolds is a heart-wrenching tale of loneliness and long- ing. Tóibín grew up in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, the fourth of five children in a fam- ily of readers and writers. His father, Michael, taught at St. Peter’s, the Christian Brothers school in Wexford town for 30 years, and his older sister Bairbre wrote The Rising, a novel about the 1798 rebellion on nearby Vinegar Hill.