10 Questions for Colm Tóibín

Irish novelist Colm Tóibín on rewriting the Bible, his obsession with mothers and that tricky name of his

Photograph by Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Irish novelist Colm Tóibín.

Mary's a pretty well-known figure. Why rewrite her story?
She's been silent, in a way, for 2,000 years. She's always pictured grieving at the foot of the Cross. But the idea of her speaking, of her having quite a lot to say, I think, is new.

Your novella about her, The Testament of Mary , is moving to Broadway. Did you give Fiona Shaw, the actress who plays Mary, any tips?
I think the job of the writer in the theater is to be very, very quiet. You've made your noise. Your job is to be back at home in...

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