On James Baldwin

Colm Tóibín


Acclaimed Irish novelist Colm Tóibín first read James Baldwin just after turning eighteen. He had completed his first year at an Irish university, and was struggling to free himself from a religious upbringing. He had even considered entering a seminary, and was searching for literature that would offer illumination and insight. Inspired by the novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, Tóibín found a writer who would be a lifelong companion and exemplar. 

From On James Baldwin

Baldwin was interested in the hidden and dramatic areas in his own being, and was prepared as a writer to explore difficult truths about his own private life. In his fiction, he had to battle for the right of his protagonists to choose or influence their destinies. He knew about guilt and rage and bitter privacies in a way that few of his White novelist contemporaries did. And this was not simply because he was Black and homosexual; the difference arose from the very nature of his talent, from the texture of his sensibility. “All art,” he wrote, “is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up.”  

On James Baldwin is a magnificent contemporary author’s tribute to one of his most consequential literary progenitors.



Cloth: $19.95 | E-book: $18.95
ISBN-13: 9781684582471
Pages: 176 | Size: 5.25 in. x 8 in.
Date Published: August 2, 2024

About the Author

Colm Toibin

Colm Tóibín is a renowned Irish novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, professor, and literary critic. Author of ten novels, including Long Island; The Magician, winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award adapted for the BAFTA award-winning film of the same name; The Testament of Mary; and Nora Webster, as well as two story collections, several books of criticism, and a collection of poems, Vinegar Hill.