Colum Mccann Quotes

Colum McCann (born 28 February 1965) is an Irish writer of literary fiction. He was born in Dublin, Ireland and now lives in New York. He is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing in the Master of Fine Arts program at Hunter College, New York with fellow novelists Peter Carey and Tea Obreht, and has visited many universities and colleges all over the world.

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Colum Mccann


About 25 years ago, I took a bicycle across the United States. I soon found out that the greatest item of clothing was the trusty bandanna. There were dozens of uses for a bandanna - as a pot holder, a chain cleaner, a sun shield, a headband, a snot rag, a declaration of Kerouacian intent.

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Let the Great World Spin' at the end talks a lot about connections and light and possibility and the fact that the world doesn't end. Even in the darkest times, we have to go on.

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I had enough electricity in my booty to jump-start the whole of New York City.

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Every first thing is always a miracle. The first person you fall in love with. The first letter you receive. The first stone you throw. And in my conception of the novel, the letter becomes important. But what's more important is the fact that we need to continue to tell each other stories.

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I don't really know what an adverb is. A dangling participle? That sounds really rude. I don't know what character is, really. Plot seems vaguely juvenile to me. It's all about language, it's all about how you apply it to the page.

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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.

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It is not fashionable anymore, I suppose, to have a regard for one's mother in the way my brother and I had then, in the mid-1950s, when the noise outside the window was mostly wind and sea chime.

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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.

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It's interesting if you can talk about the large moments and also the small moments to understand the deepest complexities of a man by trying to imagine who they are.

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In a certain way, novelists become unacknowledged historians, because we talk about small, tiny, little anonymous moments that won't necessarily make it into the history books.

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I think literature can make familiar the unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar is very much about the dispossessed, and so the value of literature seems to me to go into the stories that not everybody wants to tell.

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One look at each other and it was immediately understood that they both needed a clean slate,,, The obliteration of memory.

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I think a good novel can be a doorstop to despair. I also think the real bravery comes with those who prepared to go through that door and look at the world in all its grime and torment, and still find something of value, no matter how small.

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I think one of the biggest political failures, and the biggest social failures, over the past few years has been the failure of empathy; not being able to look at the other person down the street.

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I have different books for different times of the day, let alone different seasons of the year!

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