The Art of Reading Book Club Event with Colm Tóibín & Una Mannion

The Art of Reading Book Club Event with Colm Tóibín & Una Mannion

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Ballymun Library

9 Ballymun Road

Dublin 9


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The Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín in conversation with writer Una Mannion about The Ante-Room by Kate O'Brien

About this event

Dublin City Libraries are delighted to welcome readers to the Laureate for Irish Fiction The Art of Reading book club at 7pm on Thursday 1st September at Ballymun Library.

The Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín, will be in conversation with writer Una Mannion about The Ante-Room by Kate O’Brien.

Copies of The Ante-Room are available to borrow in advance from Ballymun Library (email or can be reserved from any public library.

Tea/coffee and refreshments will be served afterwards.

In describing his idea for this book club series Colm Tóibín said: “Our experience of reading became more intense and more essential during the lockdown. Although reading is mainly done in silence and when alone, it includes a sense of community, an idea of sharing. Readers want to talk about the books they like, to think about the internal workings of a novel or a story, and exchange ideas on books, all to enrich the experience of reading. Reading, as much as writing, is an art. It requires a creative response to the text. No books matters unless someone is reading it. The purpose of the Art of Reading Book Club is to deepen the idea of a community of readers and to recognize the vitality and excitement in the act of reading and thinking about books.”

‘This novel is written with great intensity, being set over a time period of three days in which the focus is on the entire life of a single family, all the secrets and treacheries coming into the open. Time and character are dealt with in this book with sharp insight, masterful precision.

This event will be recorded and available for viewing on the Arts Council and Libraries Ireland website on the last Thursday in September.

Previous Art of Reading Book Club events can be viewed now online on The Arts Council of Ireland You Tube channel.

The Art of Reading Book Club is an initiative of the Arts Council and the Laureate for Irish Fiction, in partnership with Libraries Ireland.

Kate O’Brien was born in 1897 in Limerick. A graduate of UCD, she was an internationally acclaimed fiction writer. In her early career she worked as a journalist and found initial literary success as a playwright. She also wrote short fiction, literary essay, literary criticism and travel writing. Her first novel, Without My Cloak (1931), won the Hawthornden and the James Tait Black Memorial prizes. She wrote nine novels in total, including Mary Lavelle (1936) and The Land of Spices (1941), both of which were banned in Ireland. Her novels were very popular and widely read in her time, both in Ireland and abroad and her most successful novel, That Lady (1946), was made into a Hollywood film. She died in 1974.

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy Co. Wexford in 1955 and educated at University College Dublin. He lived in Catalonia for several years before he returned to Dublin to work as a journalist, becoming Features Editor of 'In Dublin' in 1981 and editor of 'Magill' in 1982. In 1987, he received a bursary from the Arts Council to support his early writing. His three travel books are: 'Bad Blood: A Walk along the Irish Border' (1987); 'Homage to Barcelona' (1990); and 'The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe' (1984). His ten novels include 'The Master' (2004), winner of the Dublin IMPAC Prize and the LA Times Novel of the Year; 'Brooklyn' (2009), winner of the Costa Novel of the Year; and 'Nora Webster' (2014), winner of the Hawthornden Prize. His two collections of stories are 'Mothers and Sons' (2006), winner of the Edge Hill Prize, and 'The Empty Family' (2010), shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor Award. His plays include 'The Testament of Mary' (2011), nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. In 1993, he was elected to Aosdána and in 2020 became a vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature. He is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. In 1995, he received the E.M. Forster Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2017 he won the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Award from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. In 2021 was awarded the David Cohen Prize. He has taught at Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, Princeton University, the University of Manchester and Columbia University. He is Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.

Una Mannion is a writer and teacher living in County Sligo. In 2021, her debut novel, A Crooked Tree, was published by Faber in the UK and Ireland, and Harper Books in the USA. It won the Kate O'Brien Prize and was shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards in the Newcomer of the Year category. She is programme chair of Writing + Literature at Atlantic Technological University and edits The Cormorant, a broadsheet of poetry and prose.

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