One made us laugh at times; the other cry at times but, best of all, they always made us think. As we salute writer Colm Tóibín, the recipient of this year’s Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the An Post Irish Book Awards, we bid a sad farewell to Niall Tóibín, comic, actor, raconteur, and all-round good guy.
Both Tóibíns possessed a gift for interpreting the world around them in a unique and memorable way. Colm continues to do it as novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic, and poet, while Niall Tóibin has left a theatrical legacy spanning stage, television, film, and radio that will last for a long time to come.
Colm is the recipient of many awards for his unique contribution to contemporary Irish literature. He follows a long line of notable winners of the Bob Hughes award, among them John McGahern, Seamus Heaney, and Edna O’Brien.
Niall’s work did not attract as many official accolades yet he will be remembered by millions for bringing a light to our lives. His work included many serious theatrical roles on stage and film but it is his comic genius that will prevail.