The Art of Reading Book Club with Colm Toibin

In partnership with the Laureate for Irish Fiction, libraries present The Art of Reading monthly book club for individuals and book clubs across the country.  

Readers, book lovers and book clubs everywhere are invited to join in the Art of Reading monthly bookclub, a collaboration between libraries and the Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín. 

Over the course of 2022, the Laureate will meet a different library book club each month to discuss a novel by an Irish writer, highlighting outstanding Irish writing and celebrating readers and book clubs. Each event will be recorded and available to watch online or to listen to as a podcast. 

The selected titles include new work by contemporary Irish writers and works from the past that the Laureate wishes to bring to a new generation of readers. 

Readers everywhere can take part 

There are a few ways you can get involved. 

Libraries Ireland and the Arts Council have paired library book clubs with selected titles for 2022. These book clubs will have the first chance to hear the Laureate chat about the books, and will have an opportunity to take part in the discussion. 

Even if you’re not in one of the selected book clubs, you can still take part! You can watch or listen to a video and audio recording, which will be available on this page and on the Art of Reading web page on the last Thursday of each month

Each event will also be available as a podcast, which will be available from the Arts Council podcast channel at the end of each month.

Read more about the selected books here

May book club pick


The May Art of Reading Book Club book is Homesickness by Colin Barrett.

Colin Barrett has the ability to create character and create a scene in a few sentences. His dialogue that seems so spare and clipped manages to establish mood and build tension. His scenes are constructed with great sympathy, but there is also a bleakness in his vision. What is remarkable in his work is the texture of the language, the use of metaphor, the handling of rhythm.

Watch Colm Tóibín in conversation with Colin Barrett below.

April book club pick 


The April Art of Reading Book Club book is The Pages by Hugo Hamilton. 

This is an ingeniously told story, narrated by an actual book, a novel by the Austrian writer Joseph Roth, offering an account of its picaresque travels to America and back to Europe, while in the background we learn of the life of Joseph Roth himself and the dark times he lived in.

Watch Colm Tóibín in conversation with Hugo Hamilton below.

March book club pick 


The March Art of Reading Book Club book is Esther Walters by George Moore. 

The book club event features Colm in conversation with Adrian Frazier, professor emeritus of National University of Ireland, Galway and author of George Moore, 1852-1933 (2000).

February book club pick


The first Art of Reading book club choice is Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

This short novel manages to dramatize both private life and public matters. It does so by working in careful, meticulous, emotionally-accurate detail, making no grand statements about character or circumstance. Everything is intimate, almost low-key, and yet the implications of the narrative are far-reaching. 

Watch Colm Tóibín in conversation with Claire Keegan below.