Portrait of Colm Toibin

Willson Center welcomes
Colm Tóibín as Delta Chair

The acclaimed author of Brooklyn and The Master will take part in several public events March 15-17.
Learn More

Author Colm Tóibín coming to UGA as Delta Visiting Chair

NOTE: Please see below for changes to the schedule of events due to travel delays caused by this week’s inclement weather on the east coast. Colm Tóibín’s events at the UGA Chapel Thursday and the Seney-Stovall Chapel Friday will be unaffected by the changes. No tickets are required for either event.

The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts will welcome the internationally acclaimed Irish writer Colm Tóibín to the University of Georgia as the second annual Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding March 15-17, 2017.

Tóibín will hold public speaking events on and off the UGA campus, as well as participate in more personal interactions with students and faculty during his visit.

The Delta Visiting Chair, established by the Willson Center through the support of The Delta Air Lines Foundation, hosts outstanding global scholars, leading creative thinkers, artists and intellectuals who teach and perform research at UGA. Its first honoree was Alice Walker in 2015.

The chair is founded upon the legacy of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding, which from 1997-2011 was presented to individuals – including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ted Turner, Desmond Tutu, and Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter – whose initiatives promoted world peace by advancing understanding and cooperation among cultures and nations.

A prize-winning novelist, short-story writer, dramatist and critic, Tóibín’s works have been translated into more than thirty languages. He is the author of the acclaimed novels The Master and Brooklyn, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and a contributing editor at the London Review of Books.

“Colm Tóibín’s writing addresses our ideas of home, identity, love and belonging,” said Nicholas Allen, Franklin Professor of English and director of the Willson Center. “Tóibín is also an illuminating critic who brings his sharp intelligence to bear on literatures from the classics to the present. His reading and conversations will speak to the diversity of students across the campus. Ireland possesses one of the world’s great literary traditions and Tóibín is one its leading contemporary artists. Ireland shares deep connections with Georgia, which we will celebrate during Toibin’s visit in the week of St Patrick’s Day.”

This week’s Delta Chair events begin with a screening tonight of the Academy Award-nominated 2015 film adaptation of Tóibín’s 2009 novel Brooklyn at Ciné, 234 W. Hancock Ave. in downtown Athens. Because of weather-related travel delays, Colm Tóibín will be unable to attend this event, which will be held otherwise as planned. Tóibín will arrive in Athens in time to participate in all scheduled events Thursday and Friday. A catered public reception with Avid Bookshop will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the CinéLab, followed by the screening at 7:30. A Q&A session with Willson Center Director Nicholas Allen and Richard Neupert of UGA Film Studies will be held after the film.

NOTE: Tickets for the screening of Brooklyn are not currently available. It is likely that a limited number of seats will be open at the time of the screening, but at this time all have been spoken for by our university and community partners. The pre-screening reception at 6:30 p.m. in the CinéLab will be open to the public, including those without tickets to the screening, as will Colm Tóibín’s public events in the UGA Chapel, the Seney-Stovall Chapel, and Avid Bookshop.

On March 16 at 3:30 p.m., Tóibín will give a reading and talk in the University of Georgia Chapel titled “Staying Home, Leaving Home: Ireland and America,” followed by a book signing event at Avid Bookshop on Prince Ave. at 6 p.m. On March 17 at 7 p.m., Tóibín will have a public conversation in the Seney-Stovall Chapel with the Irish writer and editor Fintan O’Toole, followed by a special St. Patrick’s Day performance by the singer Iarla Ó Lionáird.

O’Toole is a columnist, literary editor and drama critic for the Irish Times and one of Ireland’s leading public intellectuals. Ó Lionáird is one of Ireland’s most renowned singers. He is a member of The Gloaming and performed “Casadh an tSúgáin (Twisting the Rope)” in Brooklyn.

From March 15-25 in the Barrow Hall Gallery, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences will host “1950s Fashion Inspired by Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn,” an exhibit from the college’s historic clothing collection curated by Monica Sklar, assistant professor of textiles, merchandising, and interiors.

Tóibín has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize, for his novels The Blackwater Lightship (1999), The Master (2004), and The Testament of Mary (2012). The Master won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Stonewall Book Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and was named Novel of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. Brooklyn won the Costa Novel Award, and the film, adapted by screenwriter Nick Hornby, directed by John Crowley, and starring Saoirse Ronan, was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

“The Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding is an opportunity to showcase the excellence and diversity of research in the humanities and arts at the University of Georgia,” said Vice President for Research David Lee. “It involves students, faculty and the community in culture and creativity and I invite you to share in these readings and conversations about the relationship between Ireland and America in the literature and film of Colm Tóibín.”

Each holder of the Delta Visiting Chair engages the Georgia community through lectures, seminars, discussions and programs; they present global problems in local context by addressing pressing contemporary questions about the economy, society, and the environment – with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene in major contemporary issues.