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News: Author Colm Tóibín Appointed Chancellor Of Liverpool University

Posted by Mark Cantrell on February 4, 2017 at 8:05 PM

But does the job come with an orangutan librarian?


In this world of celebrity, there's clearly still some cachet left in being an author, writes Mark Cantrell; his alma mater, the University of Liverpool, has announced Irish novelist Colm Tóibín will be its next chancellor

The award-winning Irish author Colm Tóibín has been named as the University of Liverpool's next chancellor.

Tóibín, also a journalist and playwright, has written eight novels, including Brooklyn, which won the Costa Novel of the Year in 2009. The work was adapted into an Oscar-nominated movie in 2015.

Several of his works have been shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize and his 2013 Broadway play The Testament of Mary was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Over the course of a career spanning a quarter of a century, Tóibín has been a strong advocate for free expression and LGBT rights, and was hailed as a “champion of minorities” as he collected the 2011 Irish PEN Award.

Photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe, courtesy of the University of Liverpool.

A graduate of University College Dublin, Tóibín was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007. Currently a professor at Columbia University in New York, he has taught at many universities, and was a headline speaker at the University of Liverpool’s inaugural Liverpool Literary Festival last October.

“I feel honoured to have been appointed chancellor of the University of Liverpool. The university has a great deal to be proud of and is a part of an education system that has inspired people all over the world, not least in my own country, Ireland,” he said.

“As a writer and as a citizen, I have greatly benefited from my own time in higher education, and believe that those of us who have experienced the privilege of education should do our best to make sure that others have the same chance. I will do what I can as chancellor to enhance the experience of the students and connect the university’s inspiring work with the city, with society, and with the world outside.”

As chancellor, Tóibín will be the ceremonial figurehead and is expected to serve as an important ambassadorial role, locally, nationally and internationally. His appointment was formally approved by the university’s council and followed a nomination process that took place earlier last year. He succeeds chemist Sir David King.

“Colm is a distinguished writer and public speaker who can connect with a wide global audience,” said Professor Janet Beer, Liverpool University's vice-chancellor.

“His professional achievements, personal qualities and international outlook embody the spirit and values of our university. He will not only be an excellent role model for our students, but will help us achieve our vision to be a connected, global university at the forefront of knowledge leadership.”





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