LONDON – “The Magician” by Irish writer Colm Toibin won Britain’s Rathbones Folio Prize for literature on Tuesday.
Toibin’s fictionalized account of the life of German writer Thomas Mann beat seven other finalists to the multi-genre 30,000 pound ($40,000) prize, including South African writer Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize-winning novel “The Promise,” Selima Hill’s poetry collection “Men Who Feed Pigeons” and Philip Hoare’s art history book “Albert and the Whale.”
Toibin, whose novels include “Brooklyn” and “The Master,” was a previous Folio Prize finalist in 2015 for “Nora Webster” and has been on the Booker Prize shortlist three times.
The jury of three other writers — Tessa Hadley, William Atkins and Rachel Long — said they surprised themselves by reaching a unanimous decision. They said Toibin’s book “is such a capacious, generous, ambitious novel, taking in a great sweep of 20th century history yet rooted in the intimate detail of one man’s private life.”
Founded in 2013 to rival the prestigious Booker Prize, the Folio is open to fiction, nonfiction and poetry from anywhere in the world published in Britain. This year’s finalists came from the U.K., Ireland and South Africa.