Happy Birthday, Colum McCann, born 28 February 1965
- Literature can remind us that not all life is already written down: there are still so many stories to be told.
- I believe in the democracy of story-telling. I love the fact that our stories can cross all sorts of borders and boundaries. I feel humbled by the notion that I’m even a small part of the literary experience. I grew up in a house, in a city, in a country shaped by books. I don’t know of a greater privilege than being allowed to tell a story, or to listen to a story. They’re the only thing we have that can trump life itself.
- I write about what I know; and I write about things that are new to me, and that I didn’t know before.
- I don’t believe a poet has a better hold on truth or morality than a fiction writer has. And I don’t think a fiction writer has anything over a journalist. It’s all about the good word, properly inserted.
- I mean, every novel’s a historical novel anyway. But calling something a historical novel seems to put mittens on it, right? It puts manners on it. And you don’t want your novels to be mannered.
- The short story is an imploding universe. It has all the boil of energy inside it. A novel has shrapnel going all over the place. You can have a mistake in a novel. A short story has to be perfect.
- Words are good for saying what things are, but sometimes they don’t function for what things aren’t.
Colum McCann is an Irish writer of literary fiction. His six novels include the titles Dancer, TransAtlantic, and Let the Great World Spin. He has been the recipient of many international honours, including the National Book Award and the International Dublin Impac Prize.
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