The Art of Reading Book Club with Colm Toibin 2024

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.  

See The Art of Reading Book Club 2023 here, and The Art of Reading Book Club 2022 here.

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 2024, 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 2024. 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.

January Book Club Pick

The January Art of Reading book club features Laureate for Irish Fiction Colm Tóibín in conversation with writer Claire Kilroy about her book Soldier Sailor.

“Claire Kilroy’s first novel in more than a decade deals with the early days and nights of motherhood. ‘Soldier Sailor is a resonant and important book,’ Sarah Gilmartin has written in the Irish Times, ‘vital in all senses of the word, a flare sent up from the shores of early motherhood, a lesson in surviving the wilderness’.”

(Colm Tóibín)

Watch Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín, in conversation with Claire Kilroy below. This book club was hosted by Waterford libraries.

February Book Club Pick

The February Art of Reading book club features Laureate for Irish Fiction Colm Tóibín in conversation with writer Kevin Curran about his book Youth.

"Kevin Curran's novel deals with the lives of four teenagers in Balbriggan, Ireland's most diverse town. When the protagonists intersect, the connections they make will change the course of their lives. 'Irish-English has always been wild,' Roddy Doyle has written in the Irish Times. 'Youth, at its liveliest, seems to be telling us that we’re only starting'.'' - Colm Tóibín

Watch Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín, in conversation with Kevin Curran below. This book club was recorded in Balbriggan Library.

March Book Club Pick

The March Art of Reading book club features Laureate for Irish Fiction Colm Tóibín in conversation with writer Paul Murray about his book The Bee Sting. 

"Paul Murray's novel is narrated by four members of the Barnes family, Dickie who runs a car showroom, his wife Imelda, and their children Cassie and P.J.. Murray, the Guardian has written, 'is brilliant on fathers and sons, sibling rivalry, grief, self-sabotage and self-denial, as well as the terrible weakness humans have for magical thinking'." - Colm Tóibín

Watch Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín, in conversation with Kevin Curran below. This book club was recorded in Sligo Library.

April Book Club Pick

The April Art of Reading book club features Laureate for Irish Fiction Colm Tóibín in conversation with writer Deirdre Madden about her book Molly Fox's Birthday.

“It is the height of summer, and celebrated actor Molly Fox has loaned her house in Dublin to a friend while she is away performing in New York. Set over a single midsummer’s day, Molly Fox’s Birthday is a mischievous, insightful novel about a turning point – a moment when past and future suddenly appear in a new light.” - Colm Tóibín

Watch Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín, in conversation with Deirdre Madden below.

May Book Club Pick

In the May Art of Reading book club, Megan Nolan talks about her novel Ordinary Human Failings with Laureate for Irish Fiction Colm Tóibín.

"Megan Nolan’s novel tells the story of the Green family who move from Ireland to London in the early 1990s. 'Where Nolan really excels is in the delineation of complex, sometimes contradictory interior states, the water we all swim in and call "reality",' writes The Financial Times." - Colm Tóibín

Watch Laureate for Irish Fiction, Colm Tóibín, in conversation with Megan Nolan below.