Toibin gets Amis's job – but not his £3,000 an hour salary
Thursday 27 January 2011
Colm Toibin will replace Martin Amis as professor of what has become one of the highest profile creative writing courses in the English speaking world.
The Irish author, currently lecturing at Princeton in the United States, will take up his position at Manchester University next academic year, as Amis makes the journey across the Atlantic in the opposite direction for family reasons.
But while Toibin remains a significant, if less controversial, coup for Manchester, sources indicated that he will not be benefiting from the £80,000-a-year salary enjoyed by Amis. The author of Money famously received what was worked out to be an hourly rate of £3,000, in exchange for teaching postgraduate students just two days a week, one semester a year.
A spokesman declined to comment on exactly how much Toibin will receive for his 28 hours of annual lecturing but said it would be "less than" Amis.
A bitter Islamophobia row with former faculty colleague Terry Eagleton not withstanding, Amis has presided over a 100 per cent increase in the number of students looking to enroll at the Centre for New Writing Courses, where his lectures on subjects such as Nabokov and Saul Bellow have been packed out.
Amis paid tribute to colleagues, students and part-adopted city. "Teaching creative writing at Manchester has been a joy. I've become very fond of my colleagues. I was impressed by the four instalments of 'youth' I encountered – they seemed to me impressively independent-minded and non-ideological. I loved doing all the reading and the talking; and I very much took to the Mancunians. They are a witty and tolerant contingent." He said he hoped to continue to visit Manchester regularly in the future.
Toibin, whose work has explored themes arising from – among other subjects – his homosexuality and Irish society, won last year's Costa Novel Award for Brooklyn, ironically the destination where the Amis family are reported to be preparing to decamp. He was also long-listed for the Booker Prize for the same novel, having previously appeared on the shortlist twice before.
Toibin said he was looking forward to taking up the post and was planning to bring composers, artists and other arts practitioners into the seminar room to explore how music, art and theatre influences writing.
"I visited the Centre for a reading two years ago, and I saw and liked how the students combined writing new work with reading and talking about literature in seminars and workshops, and in the public events which bring the work out of the university and into contact with the wider world," he said. John McAuliffe, co-director of the Centre, described Toibin, as "a great writer and a public intellectual" who would be a similarly "iconic appointment" to Amis.
Head to head
Born Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
Best known books The Blackwater Lightship, Brooklyn
Salary Undisclosed but less than Amis
Quote On his education: "I found some of the priests sexually attractive, they had a way about them... a sexual allure which is a difficult thing to talk about because it's usually meant to be the opposite way round."
Best known books The Rachel Papers, Money, London Fields
Salary £80,000 for 28 hours of teaching (£3,000 per hour)
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