Colm Tóibín Wins the £30,000 Rathbones Folio Prize for ‘The Magician’

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The Irish author of ‘Nora Webster’ and ‘The Master,’ Colm Tóibín, wins the 2022 Rathbones Folio Prize.

Colm Tóibín, Image: Amazon Books

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘A Capacious, Generous, Ambitious Novel’
Overnight (March 22) in London, the Irish novelist Colm Tóibín has been named the 2022 winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize.

The award goes to Tóibín in recognition of his novel The Magician (Penguin Random House/Viking), a highly regarded portrait of Thomas Mann. It’s a fictionalized biography, a difficult form for any writer, particularly with a subject as familiar and valued as Mann. He did this in The Master (This is an exercise he’d performed in The Master from Pan Macmillan/Picador, which drew him a Booker Prize nomination in 2004).

Tóibín was shortlisted by the Rathbones Folio regime in 2015 for his Nora Webster (also Penguin, and shortlisted for the Costa as well).

The jurors—Tessa Hadley, William Atkins, and Rachel Long have been quoted saying in their rationale, “Choosing one winner from the eight titles shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize found us pulled in so many directions by these extraordinary books, which we lived with and loved and read and read again.

“We sat around a table for several hours picking out lines and passages, taking in the very different worlds of each book and arguing passionately for every one of them. And then gradually it became clear–and was a surprise to all of us–that we’d each arrived at the same decision.

“Colm Tóibín’s The Magician is such a capacious, generous, ambitious novel, taking in a great sweep of 20th century history, yet rooted in the intimate detail of one man’s private life.’

The Rathbones Folio Prize 2022 Shortlist

As we continue to provide what disambiguation among a multitude of book and publishing awards, Rathbones Folio Prize:

  • Previously known as the Literature Prize and the Folio Prize, the award is today sponsored by Rathbone Brothers Plc
  • Like Waterstones, the prize’s name is written without an apostrophe, Rathbones
  • Its visibility on the awards scene was interrupted by a one-year hiatus in 2016
  • This award carries a handsome purse of £30,000 award (US$40,634)
  • The Rathbones Folio Prize has a fine internationalist stance, in that it can be won by writers anywhere in the world working in English
  • The program also has range in format: the honor can go to authors of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry

Prior winners of the award:

  • 2021: Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House (Greywolf Press)
  • 2020: Valeria Luiselli, Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
  • 2019: Raymond Antrobus
  • 2018; Richard Lloyd Parry
  • 2017: Hisham Matar
  • 2015: Akhil Sharma
  • 2014: George Saunders

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 58th awards report published in the 58 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

More from us on the Rathbones Folio Prize is here, more on publishing and book awards in international markets is here, and more on the UK market is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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