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.
"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.