Colm Tóibín — author of the New York Times best seller “Brooklyn” — will speak to first-year students at Ithaca College on Monday, Oct. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hockett Family Recital Hall, Whalen Center.
Part of the First-Year Reading Initiative (FYRI), the event is free and open to the public with a book signing to follow.
Winner of the 2009 Costa Novel Award, “Brooklyn” tells the story of Ellis, a young woman who immigrates to Brooklyn from her home in a small Irish town in the early 1950s. At the event, Tóibín will share how his own memories of homesickness inform Ellis’s experiences.
The author says that “Brooklyn” exemplifies the significance of Irish immigration to America from the perspectives of both historians and novelists. “The subject — the image of a lone figure with a suitcase coming to seek a new life — is also at the very center of America’s sense of its heritage,” said Tóibín. “It is a subject that every family has a sense of. Thus the novel ‘Brooklyn’ navigates sacred space in the history of two countries, but it is also a single story of a single person.”
Currently the Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, Tóibín has written a number of critically acclaimed novels, worked as a critic and served as editor of a variety of anthologies, including “The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction.”
His latest novel, “The Testament of Mary,” has made the shortlist of finalists for this year’s Man Booker Prize, the winner of which will be announced on October 15.
All incoming first-year students received a copy of “Brooklyn” during their visit to campus for summer orientation. At the beginning of the fall semester, they attended a presentation and then participated in small-group discussions with faculty and staff volunteers who had also read the book. The FYRI introduces students to a community of learners and provides an opportunity for them to meet faculty, staff and other new students from different departments.
For more information contact Tammy Sritecha in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.