May 2009 – Lyon, France
28 February 1965
|Alma mater||College of Commerce|
|Literary movement||Postmodern literature|
|Notable work(s)||Let the Great World Spin|
|Notable award(s)||Rooney Prize
Novel of the Year Award
National Book Award
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Colum McCann (born 28 February 1965) is an Irish writer of literary fiction. He is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing in the Master of Fine Arts program at Hunter College, New York2 and a regular visitor to the European Graduate School.3
McCann's fiction has been published in 35 languages.4 His novels include Songdogs, This Side of Brightness, Dancer, Zoli and Let the Great World Spin. He has written for numerous newspapers and periodicals, including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, The Times, The Irish Times, Granta,5 and La Repubblica. His short story "Everything in this Country Must" was made into a short film directed by Gary McKendry. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.
McCann was born in Dublin in 1965 and studied journalism in the former College of Commerce in Rathmines, now the Dublin Institute of Technology.6 He began his career as a reporter for The Irish Press, and had his own column and byline by the age of 21. In 1986 he arrived in the United States with the purpose of writing a novel. He soon found that he was lacking the life experience to undertake such a project, so he took a bicycle tour across North America for the next 18 months, collecting many of the experiences that he later said influenced his fiction, especially the wide range of voices and backgrounds of his characters. He settled in Texas from 1988 until 1991 where he worked as a wilderness guide in a program for juvenile delinquents in Texas, and completed his B.A in the University of Texas. In 1992 he married Allison Hawke and moved to Japan, where the McCanns lived for a year and a half. He and his wife then moved to New York where they currently reside with their three children, Isabella, John Michael, and Christian.
McCann will publish his most recent novel, "Transatlantic" in June 2013. An excerpt appeared in the New Yorker magazine on April 16, 2012. The novel tells the intertwined stories of Alcock and Brown (the first non-stop transatlantic fliers in 1919), the visit of Frederick Douglass to Ireland in 1845/46, and the story of the Irish peace process as negotiated by Senator George Mitchell in 1998. The book fuses these stories with fictional narratives of women spanning the course of two centuries.
His novel Let the Great World Spin (2009), uses the true story of Philippe Petit as a "pull-through metaphor," and "weaves together a powerful allegory of 9/11."4 The novel has won numerous honours, notably the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction78 and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. J. J. Abrams has optioned the film rights and has promised to work with McCann on the screenplay. In 2010, McCann and musician Joe Hurley cowrote a song-cycle – “The House That Horse Built (Let the Great World Spin)” – based on the character of Tillie. 9
- Fishing the Sloe-Black River (1994)
- Songdogs (1995)
- This Side of Brightness (1998)
- Everything in this Country Must (2000)
- Dancer (2003)
- Zoli (2006)
- Let the Great World Spin (2009)
- Transatlantic (forthcoming , 2013)
In 2003 McCann was named Esquire Magazine's "Best and Brightest" young novelist. He has also been awarded a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, the Irish Novel of the Year Award and the 2002 Ireland Fund of Monaco Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award. In the 2005 Hennessy Literary Awards, he was inducted into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame, having been named Hennessy New Irish Writer fifteen years earlier.13
On 15 June 2011, it was announced that Colum McCann had won the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 19th most lucrative literary award in the world.14 It was only the second time that an author of Irish origin had won the award.15 McCann won the award for his novel Let the Great World Spin.1617 Among the judges were John Boyne and Michael Hofmann.18 The judging panel described the book as a "remarkable literary work [...] a genuinely 21st century novel that speaks to its time but is not enslaved by it", noting the book's opening pages in which "the people of New York city stand breathless and overwhelmed as a great artist dazzles them in a realm that seemed impossible until that moment; Colum McCann does the same thing in this novel, leaving the reader just as stunned as the New Yorkers, just as moved and just as grateful".19 Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen said it was "wonderful and fitting to have a Dublin winner in the year that Dublin was awarded UNESCO City of Literature designation, a designation in perpetuity".18 Interviewed afterwards, McCann praised fellow nominated writers William Trevor and Yiyun Li, suggesting that either would have been worthy winners.20
- Cusatis, John. Understanding Colum McCann. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2011.(Online excerpt)
- Flannery, Eoin. "The Aesthetics of Redemption." Irish Academic Press, 2011.
- "About Colum McCann". Colum McCann.
- "Hunter College Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing".
- Colum McCann. "Colum McCann Faculty Profile at [[European Graduate School]] in [[Saas-Fee]], Switzerland". Retrieved 23 June 2010. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- Colum McCann. "About Colum McCann". Retrieved 8 December 2009.
- "National Book Award 2009". Granta. 19 November 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
- "Author Colum McCann honoured by DIT". DIT. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "National Book Awards – 2009". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
(With interview of McCann and other material.)
- Flood, Alison (19 November 2009). "Colum McCann wins National Book award for fiction". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 November 2009.
- Philbrook, Erik (August 2010), "The House That Horse Built (Let The Great World Spin)", Blog Horizonvu Music, retrieved 25 May 2011
- "But Always Meeting Ourselves" by Colum McCann, The New York Times, 15 June 2009 (16 June 2009 on OpEd p. A21 of the NY ed.). Retrieved 6/16/09.
- Faculty listing Hunter College. Retrieved 6/16/09.
- "Current members - Literature". Aosdána.
- "Cheers as McCann enters Hall of Fame". Irish Independent. 1 April 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "Irish author McCann wins IMPAC Dublin Award". CBC News. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- "Irish author Colum McCann wins lucrative literary award". BBC News. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- "Colum McCann wins IMPAC Dublin Award". Los Angeles Times. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Bosman, Julie (16 June 2011). "Colum McCann Wins Rich Novel Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Flood, Alison (16 June 2011). "Colum McCann wins 2011 Impac Dublin prize". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Taylor, Charlie (15 June 2011). "Colum McCann wins Impac award". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Battersby, Eileen (16 June 2011). "'I decided to write the great Irish novel but couldn't. I wasn't messed-up enough'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Colum McCann|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Colum McCann|
- Official website
- Colum McCann. Faculty Profile at European Graduate School Biography, bibliography, photos and video lectures
- Video Interview: Adventures in the Skin Trade PEN World Voices at LIVE from the New York Public Library 4 May 2008
- Radio interview on Bookworm, 22 March 2007
- Powells.com interview
- "Colum McCann's top 10 novels on poets," The Guardian, 3 October 2006
- Identity Theory interview
- Poets & Writers interview, 14 March 2003
- The Morning News interview, 3 May 2007
- Small Talk: Colum McCann, Financial Times, 29 August 2009
- Two Interviews, The Stinging Fly
- Interview in The Irish Times after 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award win