Sunday, September 5, 2010

Novelist Colum McCann to Visit Campus Sept. 16

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Novelist Colum McCann leads off the 2010/11 Sophie Kerr lecture series at Washington College on Thursday, September 16 at 5 p.m. in Tawes Theater, the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts.

A native of Ireland who now teaches at Hunter College in New York, McCann is the author of five novels and has been published in 30 languages. His most recent book, Let the Great World Spin (Random House, 2009), was praised by the New York Times as “an emotional tour de force” and became one of the most talked about books of the decade. Set in New York City in the 1970s, it has been described as an allegory of the city's resilient post-9/11 self.

The novel begins in August 1974 as tightrope walker Philippe Petit makes his way through the dawn light across the World Trade Center towers, committing the “artistic crime of the century” and stunning thousands of watchers below. Using the true story of Petit as a pull-through metaphor, McCann crafts a portrait of the city and a people, weaving together seemingly disparate lives.

Let the Great World Spin won the National Book Award and was chosen as Amazon's top Book of the Year. It placed McCann—whose remarkable previous books include Zoli and Dancer—at the very top rank of contemporary novelists.

Born in Dublin in 1965, McCann was named Esquire's Writer of the Year in 2003 and was awarded a prestigious French Chevalier des arts et lettres in 2009. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Irish Times.

Sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, McCann’s reading is free and open to the public. For more information on the author, visit To learn about other literary events at Washington College, please visit