remembering 9/11 | September 11, 2011

Colum McCann Recalls 9/11 and Discusses The Power of Art

The New York Times released a series of touching clips, titled 'A Cultural View', detailing the effects of 9/11 on the lives of eight New York artists. Colum McCann was one of those eight. McCann starts out by recalling his experience, and how, as a writer, even the seemingly insignificant elements of New York suddenly took on meaning. He goes on to say that 9/11 wasn’t just one event, but a repeating moment in time: “It continually happens, and therefore we have to react to it.” McCann, of course, is the author behind 2009’s Let The Great World Spin, an "emotional tour de force" as described by the Times. McCann concludes his touching interview by saying that art has the power to restore the towers in our minds. “Memory and imagination collide with one another and you can put the towers back up in the air. That’s the beauty of art.”

As seen in the video, 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 a great (but humble) writer and a relatable (yet powerful) speaker.

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