One of the most critically acclaimed of contemporary authors, Colm Tóibín is an Irish novelist, poet and critic, whose work has scooped numerous literary awards and been nominated multiple times for the Booker Prize. After making his name in Irish journalism in the 1980s, Tóibín produced his debut novel, The South, in 1990. Based heavily on his time in Barcelona and a conscious nod towards Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, the book scooped the Whitbread First Novel Award. Subsequent works, such as The Heather Blazing and The Blackwater Lightship, have dwelt upon Tóibín’s Irish heritage and are set in the author’s home town of Enniscorthy in County Wexford. As well as exploring issues of Irish history and cultural identity, Tóibín’s work frequently examines homosexual love and gay lifestyles, either in contemporary society or period novels, such as the Booker Prize- shortlisted The Master, a fictionalised account of the later life of Henry James. Other notable works include Brooklyn (which was adapted for an Oscar-nominated film), The Testament of Mary and Nora Webster.