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Muse Scholars talk with award-winning novelist and Hunter Prof. Colum McCann

 

National Book Award-winning novelist Colum McCann read and spoke with the Muse Scholars on Oct. 22 at his annual event with the college's freshman honors students.

McCann read from Let the Great World Spin, winner of the 2009 National Book Award, and talked with students about his new novel, TransAtlantic.

He also regaled the audience with tales about traveling the United States on a bicycle, an experience that gave him a broad view of the nation's citizenry. Understanding everyday people and being open to their stories are the keys to becoming a writer, McCann told the group, which included many budding artists.

Inspiration can also be found in other writers' work, McCann explained: It was Paul Auster's essay about the tightrope artist Philippe Petit that gave him an important narrative thread for McCann's most-acclaimed novel. In the 1970s, Petit walked on a line strung between the World Trade Center towers; a fictionalized version of that high-wire act ultimately became the central point that links various characters in Let the Great World Spin.

(Photo, above: Colum McCann with students in the Muse Scholar Class of 2018)