Last night, Colm Tóibín was awarded the 2021 David Cohen Prize for Literature at a ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. The £40,000 award celebrates the full body of work of a writer who lives in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. “I think of [Tóibín] as a Renaissance man who can do almost everything with equal brillaince,” said Hermoine Lee, chair of the judging panel. “He’s a novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, travel-writer, critic, teacher, journalist and activist for gay rights.”
“When I attended the inaugural reception for the David Cohen Prize in London in 1993, I did not imagine for a moment that my own writing would ever be honored in this way.” Tóibín said, upon receiving the award. “Those who have won the prize in the past are artists whose work I revere. I am proud to be among them.” Past honorees have included V S Naipaul, Doris Lessing and Seamus Heaney.
Each year, the winner of the David Cohen Prize nominates an emerging writer for the £10,000 Clarissa Lurad Award. Tóibín selected Padraig Regan, the author of the pamphlets Who Seemed Alive & Altogether Real and Delicious. Their debut, Some Integrity, will be published with Carcanet in January. Upon receiving the honor, Regan said, “to have one’s work recognized by a writer one admires is always encouraging, and this is especially true of a writer like Colm, whose body of work has made it easier for younger queer writers like myself to find their place within Irish literary traditions.”
[via The Irish Times]