Colm Tibn On Writing and Ireland – Deutsche Welle

Posted: March 20, 2020 at 3:46 am


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To Colm Tibn, writing is "like music, in that its based on melody. Its based on rhythm. Before readers engage their intellect, he tells us in this exclusive interview, a deeper urge should entice them to turn the page - as if they were following a rhythm. Born in southeast Ireland in 1955, Colm Tibn is one of the most celebrated English writers of our time. He lives in Ireland and the USA, and teaches at Columbia University in New York.

His novels, essays and plays have found wide acclaim. Four have been shortlisted for the coveted Booker Prize. His most popular novel to date, "Brooklyn was even adapted for the silver screen. Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay for this touching story of a young girl who flees from economic hardship in Ireland and builds a new life in New York. ((FOTO - Brooklyn)) Much of his writing has autobiographical references. "Nora Webster (2014) is a thinly veiled account of Tibns own mother. The tale is set in the small town of Enniscorthy on the southeast coast of Ireland in County Wexford - right where Tibn was born. Like the heroine of the novel, Tobns mother also lost her husband. And like the heroines son, the author developed a stutter after his fathers death. The figures in Tibns writing are mostly provincial, simple characters, which he brings to life with a uniquely insightful and delicate touch. Hes most accomplished in female portrayals. "I was brought up by women, he says, "no matter what they said, it would be fascinating. And so, the ambivalent relation between mothers and their sons is one of the main motifs in his work. The sons in his novels and collection of short fiction "Mothers and Sons (2009) not only struggle with their relationship with their mothers, but also with metaphorical maternal institutions, with Ireland itself and the Catholic church. Many of his writings deal with rebelling against and fleeing from emotional and social constraints. Colm Tibn actively pursues equal rights for homosexuals, and was one of the first to advocate same-sex marriage in Ireland.

When asked why Ireland has brought forth so many great authors - James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, Seamus Heaney - despite having fewer than 5 million inhabitants, Colm Tibns reply is as delightfully straightforward as his writing: "The only way out of poverty was education. And the only way to education was literacy. So literacy became a sort of fetish in poor families. Books, reading, and writing. Art.21 meets a great author and a deeply likable individual: Colm Tibn.

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Colm Tibn On Writing and Ireland - Deutsche Welle

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March 20th, 2020 at 3:46 am

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