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Colum McCann Edit Profile

journalist , writer

Colum McCann is an Irish writer of literary fiction and successful journalist. 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.


Mr. McCann was born on February 28, 1965 in Dublin, Ireland. He was raised in Deansgrange, South County Dublin.


Colum McCann attended Clonkeen College, Dublin Institute of Technology Rathmines, from which he received his degree in communications, and he also was a graduate of University of Texas, Austin.


Mr. McCann worked for various newspapers, including the Herald, Evening Press, and Connaught Telegraph in Ireland, and with the United Press in New York City. From 1984 to 1985 Mr. McCann served as a youth correspondent at Evening Press. He worked variously in the U.S. as a taxi driver in Cape Cod, MA, bartender, bicycle mechanic, volunteer for a program in rural Texas for troubled urban youths, and apartment manager. Colum McCann toured America on a bicycle for two years, travelling over 12,000 kilometres. He began writing the stories that later comprised his first collection, Fishing the Sloe-Black River.

In 1988 Colum McCann moved to Texas where he worked as a wilderness educator with juvenile delinquents. His short story "Everything in this Country Must" was made into a short film directed by Gary McKendry. His latest work is Thirteen Ways of Looking, a collection of short stories released in October 2015.

Mr. McCann currently teaches on the Hunter College faculty as part of the MFA Creative Writing program.


  • Colum McCann's work has been published in 35 languages and has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, and the Paris Review, among other publications. He has written for the New York Times, Esquire, Paris Review, and The Atlantic Monthly, as well as many other international publications.

    Mr. McCann has written six well-known novels, including TransAtlantic and the National Book Award-winning Let the Great World Spin.


Quotations: "I believe in the democracy of storytelling. I love the fact that our stories can cross all sorts of borders and boundaries."

"The best writers attempt to become alternative historians. My sense of the Great Depression is guided by the works of Doctorow, for instance. My perception of Dublin in the early 20th century is almost entirely guided by my reading of ‘Ulysses.’"


Colum McCann married Allison Hawke in 1992. They lived in Japan for eighteen months from 1993-1994. In 1994, he moved to New York. He, his wife and their three children Isabella, John Michael, and Christian reside in New York.

Isabella McCann

John Michael McCann

Christian McCann

Allison Hawke