Colum McCann

Writers make emotional sense of the present, not only for today but for years to come.

Author of Let The Great World Spin

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Colum McCann | Author of Let The Great World Spin

When Colum McCann released Let the Great World Spin in 2009, it entered the pantheon of Great American Novels almost instantly. By the end of the year, it won the National Book Award and was named Amazon’s #1 Book of the Year. In his talks, McCann provides an in-depth look at the way he writes: which is, to observe everything

“A blockbuster groundbreaking heartbreaking symphony of a novel.”

— Frank McCourt on Let The Great World Spin

On stage, Colum McCann offers insight into the art of the writer’s craft, recounting examples from the creation of his own bestselling novel, Let The Great World Spin. A polyphonic work set in the New York of the 1970s, but serving as an allegory of the city's resilient post-9/11 self, Spin placed McCann—whose remarkable previous books include Zoli and Dancer—at the very top rank of contemporary novelists. Sometimes, nice guys finish first.


His most recent novel, TransAtlantic, combines the real-life narratives of Frederick Douglass, Alcock and Brown, and Senator George Mitchell. It has been longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. His latest collection of short fiction, Thirteen Ways of Looking—his first collection in over a decade—charts the territory of chance, and the profound and intimate consequences of even our smallest moments.


“[An] emotional tour de force.”

New York Times on Let The Great World Spin

Born in Dublin in 1965, Colum McCann is the author of five novels, which have been published in 30 languages. All were international bestsellers. He was named Esquire’s Writer of the Year in 2003, and was awarded a French Chevalier des arts et lettres in 2009. Other awards include The Pushcart Prize and The National Book Award. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Irish Times. He currently teaches at Hunter College in New York.   

Speech Topics

An Evening with Colum McCann
On stage, Colum McCann provides a graceful look into the writer’s craft and, specifically, the way he writes, which is to observe everything. How does he use seemingly insignificant moments and fleeting interactions to conjure a specific place in time? How does he breathe life into complex characters, and, in the process, create a realistic sense of what it means to be alive? Described by The New York Times as having “the convivial charm of someone who enjoys lifting a glass with a wide circle of friends,” McCann is as strong a speaker as he is a writer.