NEPA Scene Staff

Irish author Colum McCann to receive award at University of Scranton

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From a press release:

Award-winning, best-selling author Colum McCann will receive the 2014 Royden B. Davis, S.J., Distinguished Author Award from the University of Scranton’s Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library at a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 18. The event begins with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by a dinner and award presentation in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center. Reservations are required to attend the award ceremony.

A book signing, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 4-5 p.m. on the fourth floor reception area of the DeNaples Center.

Known as a writer of style and substance, McCann has been called a “poetic realist,” a gifted writer who is adept at combining historical figures and situations with fictional characters. His book “Dancer” (2003) was based on Rudolf Nureyev. His latest novel, “TransAtlantic,” revolves around real-life figures who traveled from North America to Ireland, including Frederick Douglass; Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown; and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

The author of six novels and two collections of short stories, McCann has written about topics ranging from homeless people in the subway tunnels of New York City, to the troubles in Northern Ireland, to the effects of 9/11, to a poetic examination of the Roma in Europe. A New York Times Best Seller, “Transatlantic,” which spans continents and leaps centuries, is described by Kirkus as “a masterful and profoundly moving novel… epic in ambition… audacious in format.”

“Let the Great World Spin,” McCann’s 2009 novel, became a best-seller on four continents, winning the 2009 National Book Award in the U.S., the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, the International Impac Award in 2011, a literary award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and several other major literary prizes. The film rights for “Let the Great World Spin” were bought by acclaimed director J.J. Abrams, with whom McCann is currently adapting the screenplay. His 2005 short film “Everything in this Country Must,” directed by Gary McKendry, was nominated for an Academy Award.

McCann’s fiction has been published in more than 35 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ and other publications, and he has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, the Irish Independent, Die Zeit, La Republicca, Paris Match and The Times. A member of the Irish Academy, Aosdana, he was awarded a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French government in 2009.

Born in Dublin, McCann teaches in the Creative Writing program at Hunter College in New York City, where he lives with his family. He holds dual Irish and American citizenship and is active in New York and Irish charities.

The Distinguished Author Award Series began with the Friends of the Weinberg Library’s desire to recognize and honor the work of fiction and non-fiction authors. The Friends also saw it as an opportunity for authors to share their literary pursuits and impressions with residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The annual event helps the Friends of the Library Endowment Fund, which supports special gifts for the Weinberg Library collections and services.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Author Award have included Jack Palance, Malachy McCourt, Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Lisa Scottoline, Linda Fairstein, James Grippando, Phillip Margolin, Mary Gordon, William Bernhardt, Steve Berry, Jay Parini, and Susan Campbell Bartoletti. First presented in 1997, the award is named in honor of the late Royden B. Davis, S.J., who served in many roles at the University and as rector of the Jesuit Community at Scranton.

For further information or to reserve a ticket for the award event, contact Kym Fetsko at 570-941-7816 or