Colm Tóibín: Reflections on Austen

Colm Tóibín is the author of several award-winning novels and short story collections. Widely regarded as the finest Irish novelist of his generation, he has been twice short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, for The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, the latter a fictional account of the life of Henry James. In 2006 he won the International Impac Dublin Literary Award—the world's most valuable literary prize—for The Master. His latest novel, Brooklyn, which draws upon Austen's Pride and Prejudice for some of its situations and characters, was published in the spring.

"I think that is what we all do in our fiction . . . we spend our time concealing ourselves, and actually disclosing ourselves. In Jane Austen, you would imagine that she knew how to keep certain things to herself, and that she was deeply skilled at that, and that she admired such skill, and was unlikely to let it go."