Irish literary polymath Colm Tóibín – critic, essayist, journalist, novelist, playwright, poet – talks about the art of writing fictionalised biographies. He has written two such books, on authors he greatly admires: Henry James and Thomas Mann, German Nobel Laureate for 1929. This is a discussion about how a writer, by combining research and imagination, might be able to bring a famed historical personality, especially another writer, to life in a way a conventional biography can never do. Tóibín also talks about Mann’s hidden, and sometimes, dark, impulses, and the tumultuous times in which he lived.
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