Toibin's fictionalized account about Thomas Mann's life beat seven other finalists for the multi-genre prize of 30,000 pounds ($40,000). These included Damon Galgut, South African writer and poet "The Promise," Selima Hills' poetry collection "Men who Feed Pigeons" and Philip Hoare’s art history book "Albert and the Whale."
Toibin is the author of "Brooklyn" as well as "The Master" and was a Folio Prize finalist for "Nora Webster" in 2015. He has also been on the Booker Prize shortlist once before.
Three other writers, Tessa Hadley and William Atkins were part of the jury that reached a unanimous decision. Rachel Long was also present. Toibin's book was described by them as "a tremendously capacious, generous, and ambitious novel that covers a vast amount of 20th century history but is rooted in the intimate details of one man's personal life."
Folio was established in 2013 to compete with the Booker Prize. It is open to poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from any part of the world that has been published in Britain. The U.K. and Ireland were the finalists this year.