Colum McCann's picture

Colum McCann

Ireland (b.1965)

Colum McCann is an Irish-born writer of literary fiction, whose novels include This Side of Brightness, Dancer, and Zoli. McCann teaches creative writing at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York.

Genres: Literary Fiction
Non fiction
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards Best Novel nominee (2000) : This Side of Brightness
National Book Award for Fiction Best Book winner (2009) : Let the Great World Spin
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards Best Novel winner (2011) : Let the Great World Spin
Booker Prize Best Novel nominee (2013) : TransAtlantic
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards Best Book nominee (2015) : TransAtlantic
Booker Prize Best Novel nominee (2020) : Apeirogon

Colum McCann recommends
The Parts (2003)
Keith Ridgway
"A truly ambitious, telescopic Irish novel just at the time when such ambitions seemed kidnapped. Funny. Gorgeous. Tender. Angry. Absurd. Tough. And beautifully written."
Tenderwire (2006)
Claire Kilroy
"There is a fine balancing act going on here - Claire Kilroy walks the literary highwire. This is a marvelous novel - pacy, precise, lyrical, endearing and unpretentious."
Away (2007)
Amy Bloom
"I haven't read a novel in a long time that I genuinely wanted to get back to, just to sit down and read for the pure joy of it. Away is a book full of tender wisdom, brawling insight, sharp-edged humor and - if it's possible - a lovely, wayward precision. Amy Bloom has created an unforgettable cast of characters. Lillian, the heroine, or anti-heroine, somehow always manages to do what great journeys always do - continue. A marvelous book."
Lies My Mother Never Told Me (2009)
Kaylie Jones
"Unadorned, poignant, and honest to the core. Kaylie Jones's memoir is a high, emerging from the shadows of a writing life."
The Tiger's Wife (2011)
Téa Obreht
"Téa Obreht is the most thrilling literary discovery in years."
Solace (2011)
Belinda McKeon
"An elegant, consuming and richly inspired novel. A superb debut. This one will last."
Boundaries (2011)
Elizabeth Nunez
"Elizabeth Nunez is one of the finest and most necessary voices in contemporary American and Caribbean fiction."
Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (2016)
Sunil Yapa
"A raw and rare talent, Yapa strides forward with a literary Molotov cocktail to light up the dark."
We Love You, Charlie Freeman (2016)
Kaitlyn Greenidge
"This is a story about family, about language, about history and its profound echoes."
A Line Made By Walking (2017)
Sara Baume
"When I finished Sara Baume's new novel I immediately felt sad that I could not send it in the post to the late John Berger. He, too, would have loved it and found great joy in its honesty, its agility, its beauty, its invention."
Reservoir 13 (2017)
Jon McGregor
"Jon McGregor is a writer who will make a significant stamp on world literature. In fact, he already has."
Shadow Man (2017)
Alan Drew
"Shadow Man revises the old detective story and turns it in several fascinating directions. Alan Drew writes with precision, subtlety, and a streak of suspense that does not often color the literary novel."
Home Fire (2017)
Kamila Shamsie
"Into the ranks of international voices steps Kamila Shamsie, who seems as if she has heard, and listened, to the music of what surrounds us."
The Ruined House (2017)
Ruby Namdar
"In The Ruined House a ‘small harmless modicum of vanity’ turns into an apocalyptic bonfire. Shot through with humor and mystery and insight, Ruby Namdar's wonderful first novel examines how the real and the unreal merge. It's a daring study of madness, masculinity, myth-making and the human fragility that emerges in the mix."
In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees (2018)
Jeff Talarigo
"As much a book of poetry as a novel, as much a symphony as a memoir, this is an extraordinary book from a writer at the top of his powers. Reminiscent of Berger and Calvino, Jeff Talarigo manages to capture the breadth and circumference of story-telling, while also giving us a privileged insight into the daily life and dreams of Gaza."
The Falconer (2019)
Dana Czapnik
"An unsentimental education in all that is urgent, soulful and intimate. As much the portrait of an era as it is the portrait of an adolescence, this is a crossover novel that will thrill readers of all generations. The Falconer captures the grueling, exhilarating pathos of one woman’s quest to become whole. A wonderful debut."
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (2019)
Elif Shafak
"Elif Shafak brings into the written realm what so many others want to leave outside. Spend more than ten minutes and 38 seconds in this world of the estranged. Shafak makes a new home for us in words."
The Butchers (2020)
Ruth Gilligan
"Gilligan braids beauty and brutality together in a seamless literary thriller. With plot twists worthy of Tana French and language reminiscent of Téa Obreht, this young Irish writer has crafted a story that is dark, wild, mythic, unsuspecting, and absolutely riveting."
Actress (2020)
Anne Enright
"With Anne Enright, we are always in the country of the first-rate. Her work is stark, clear, authoritative, funny and inventive. We come away from her books consistently refreshed and renewed. She understands the full capacity of our stories and our language, braiding them together with apparent ease."
Peace Talks (2020)
Tim Finch
"There are war stories and there are love stories, but we only occasionally get war stories and love stories braided together. Tim Finch has written a wonderful novel, tiny and epic both. Laced with humour and sadness, this is an intimate account of what it means to make peace, both with others and with oneself."
The Index of Self-Destructive Acts (2020)
Christopher Beha
"A significant novel, beautifully crafted and deeply felt. Beha creates a high bonfire of our era's vanities. . . .This is a novel to savor."
Foregone (2021)
Russell Banks
"Russell Banks is, word for word, idea for idea, one of the great American novelists. Foregone is a book about not coming to a conclusion. Banks presents us with a series of mirrors, some of them broken, some of them intact, and all of them wildly reflective of our times. It is a book about the shifting shapes of memory and the chimerical nature of our lives."
Rockaway Blue (2021)
Larry Kirwan
"Poet, raconteur, novelist, rock star: Larry Kirwan is a man designed to bridge our times. If anyone can bring the disciplines together, and make sense of this stew of human experience, it is Kirwan in Rockaway Blue."
Phase Six (2021)
Jim Shepard
"Jim Shepard not only writes at the cutting edge of literature, but he IS the cutting edge of literature. He excavates the twin crises of our era—climate change and pathogens—and builds a story that is as poignant as it is true. The writing is stunning. The research is stunning. The after-effect is stunning. Phase Six is a great book for our times: the past, the present and those that—we hope—are yet to come."
The Pages (2021)
Hugo Hamilton
"A powerful, powerful piece of work. A wounded book making its own book. It brings so much to life – Joseph Roth, Chechnya, Germany, the art of writing, the whole notion of banning books, the lips of the past speaking to the present."
The Good Left Undone (2022)
Adriana Trigiani
"Adriana Trigiani reshapes the words of Phillip Larkin - 'the good not done, the love not given, the time torn off unused' -- as a focal point for a wonderfully agile novel that rounds off the sharp edges of our times."
Sleeping Alone (2022)
Ru Freeman
"Stand in the doorway of these beautiful stories and admire for a moment the architecture of how they have invited you in. Then step fully inside into a textured world of borders breached, lands left behind, new territories discovered, families remembered, and vistas uncovered. These stories cross and criss-cross the world, making it tiny and epic at the same time. Dublin, Philadelphia, Maine, Sri Lanka, New York, they are all here, and we, as readers, are all there. Ru Freeman captures the moment when the thorn enters the skin, and then she leads us forward towards healing. A great collection from one of the best and most necessary voices of our times."

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