Colm Tóibín, the author behind The Master, recently visited the KQED studios to record an episode of The Writers' Block, which will be released next week (listen to Colm's reading here). Until then, get to know him a little better with this Q+A, in which he talks about his favorite San Francisco haunts and what his spirit animal would be.
You've spent some time in San Francisco before. What were some of your favorite haunts and why?
Colm Tóibín: I like walking from the Castro to the Mission. I like the Fraenkel Gallery on Geary Street, which is the best gallery for photographs I know. I like the DeYoung Museum because I can see paintings by Richard Diebenkorn. I like Amoeba Records on Haight Street and Serendipity Books in Berkeley.
You've confessed to having mixed feelings about your homeland, Ireland. What's your favorite and least favorite thing about it?
CT: I like the light and the way things grow. I hate the conservative politics.
If you could pick one historical figure to take to bed, who would it be and why?
CT: Titian's "Young Man With a Glove" -- it hangs in the Louvre.
What's the first book that made you fall in love with language?
CT: The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway.
Which dead writer would you like to chat with?
CT: George Eliot. But I would have done all the listening.
If your life was adapted to film, who would play you?
CT: Jack Nicholson.
What's something about you that might surprise people?
CT: I'm dull.
What was your first concert?
CT: A great Irish band called Horslips in 1971.
You're on stage at a karaoke bar. What are you singing?
CT: "The Last Rose of Summer."
If you had a spirit animal, what might it be?
CT: A lizard.
Look for Colm Tóibín's episode of The Writers' Block next Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at kqed.org/writersblock. And be sure not to miss each episode as it becomes available by subscribing to The Writers' Block podcast!