Colm Tóibín is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic, and poet. He is currently the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. Tóibín’s 1990 novel The South was followed by The Heather Blazing (1992), The Story of the Night (1996) and The Blackwater Lightship (1999). His fifth novel, The Master (2004), is a fictional account of portions in the life of author Henry James. Tóibín is the author of other non-fiction books: Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border (1994), (reprinted from the 1987 original edition) and The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe (1994). Tóibín has also written two short story collections. His first, Mothers and Sons, was published in 2006 and was reviewed favorably (including by Pico Iyer in The New York Times). His second, broader collection, The Empty Family, was published in 2010, and was shortlisted for the 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.