The youngest of six children, born with a heart defect, David spent his childhood wrapped in cotton wool.
“I loved football and couldn’t play it,” he says. “And there were certain amusement rides I wasn’t allowed to go on. Those were the moments I was aware of my heart condition.”
An outgoing child who was bookish, but loved people, David wanted to be an archaeologist. He was also interested in history.
“And I thought I was a great musician,” he says. “I wrote song lyrics, and then poetry. I was first published at 18 when I’d joined a writing group in Cork.”
David moved from his PhD to a teaching post in University College Cork, and then, in 2015, he moved to Prague to teach English. And that’s where he met Miriam, who is now his wife.
“Miriam convinced me to move to Norway in 2016.”
After working in a bar for 2 ½ years, a job he found exhausting – making him aware of his heart defect – he worked in an office before moving on to the Irish Embassy.
David has published two collections of poetry and three pamphlets.
Who is David Toms?
Date of birth: 1988 in Waterford.
Education: St Paul’s Community College Waterford; University College Cork, English and History. PhD in History.
Home: Dokka Norway.
Family: Wife Miriam Cohen Kiel, aand dog Madras.
The Day Job: Finance and community Support Officer at the Irish Embassy in Norway.
In Another Life: “I’d love to run an antiquarian bookshop.”
Favourite Writers: Joseph Roth; Sean Bonney; Ellen Dillon; Sara Baume; Terry Pratchett; Tony Judt.
Second Novel: “I’m not sure what will come next. More poetry, a collection of essays, or a historical novel I’m starting work on.”
Top Tip: Read widely.
Website: www.davidtomswriter.com. Twitter: @daithitoms
The Debut: Pacemaker. Banshee Press: €15. Kindle: €7.94.
This luminescent memoir, in talking about the restorative powers of walking, explores what it’s like living with a congenital heart defect. In creative non-fiction, poetry and diary entries Toms takes us through the constrictions his condition brings. Text messages take us through March 2020, when, while waiting for a pacemaker, David, contracted Covid 19, and ended up on a respirator, clinging to life.
The Verdict: A wonderful read. Lyrical, informative, fascinating and utterly inspirational.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 24th September.
© Sue Leonard. 2022.