Author Toibin sees novel surviving new technology

Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:32pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mark Egan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Award-winning Irish writer Colm Toibin firmly believes the novel will remain fundamentally unchanged by the Internet or other high-tech innovations, a realm in which he admits he is nearly illiterate.

Toibin, the author of such critically acclaimed novels as "Brooklyn," "The Master" and "The Blackwater Lightship," is set this week to appear on a panel to discuss "The Author in the Age of the Internet," part of the London Review of Books' 30th anniversary celebration events in New York.

Toibin is a technophobe. He writes with a fountain pen on paper and cannot figure out how to send e-mails by phone. An interview with Reuters on Tuesday was delayed as Toibin fumbled with his cell phone, repeatedly failing to answer it.

"I actually miss most calls," Toibin said apologetically over a landline from Princeton University where he teaches. "Like an awful lot of writers, I am barely literate in the things that seem to matter now."

The recent launch of Apple's iPad tablet computer and the pending release of similar devices have many in publishing experimenting with new forms of content for increasingly powerful mobile computing devices.

Toibin is aware technology is encroaching on literature, but he remains unimpressed with new gadgets such as Amazon's Kindle.

On a train to Boston, he tried out a Kindle belonging to a fellow passenger, but he did not like it. "I thought it took longer to turn the page than it would take me and ... I just didn't like that second of waiting," he said.

At a dinner party, a fellow guest admitted to never reading his work but said she could rectify that immediately.   Continued...