“If you just look at who has won it before, you think, ‘God, I would really like my book to be in that list’,” Toibin said.
The author, who was serving as the Stein Visiting Writer at Stanford University in California when he learnt of the award, said he will return there in 12 months’ time.
“I’m going to take a year to get a new novel written. The great advantage of this is it really frees you, the money,” he said.
Previous winners include Orhan Pamuk, Tahar Ben Jeloun, and Edward P. Jones.