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  • NYS Writers Institute

Video: Colm Toibin on his Thomas Mann novel "The Magician"

In honor of Thomas Mann's birthday, born on this date in 1875, here's a video from our March event with

Colm Tóibín, discussing his 2021 novel The Magician, about the life of Mann, the 1929 Nobel Prize winner and author of Death in Venice (1912), and The Magic Mountain (1924).


Colm Tóibín was joined onstage at Page Hall on the UAlbany Downtown Campus by his longtime friend Lynne Tillman. Colm last visited UAlbany in 2016 in association with a screening of "Brooklyn," based on his novel of the same name, and widely acclaimed as a Top 10 film of that year.



“In The Magician, Toibin delves into the layers of the great German novelist’s unconscious, inviting us to understand his fraught, monumental, complicated and productive life. It’s a work of huge imaginative sympathy…quite thrilling…It takes a writer of Toibin’s caliber to understand how the seemingly inconsequential details of life can be transmogrified, turned into art…[the novel’s] expansive and subtle rhythms carry the reader forward and backward in time, tracing an epic story of exile and literary grandeur, unpacking a major author’s psyche in such a way that the life of the imagination becomes, finally, the real and only tale worth telling.”—Jay Parini, The New York Times Book Review