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Upcoming Speakers

Every year, the Schoenfeldt Distinguished Writers Series is committed to bringing two noteworthy guests to University of Portland.


Colum McCann, credit Dustin Aksland

Colum McCann

Let the Great World Spin is University of Portland's 2018-19 ReadUP selection, and McCann will join UP for a talk Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the Buckley Center Auditorium. Book signing to follow.

The fiction of Irish-born Colum McCann moves seamlessly from the Troubles in Ireland to the Romani camps of Eastern Europe to the dizzying heights of the World Trade Center.  His 2009 novel Let the Great World Spin was a bestseller on four continents, was recognized with major awards from eight nations, including the National Book Award.  Set on a single day in 1974 when Philippe Petit walked between the World Trade Center Towers on a tightrope, the novel draws lines or radical empathy between a dozen characters from diverse corners of the city. McCann is currently adapting the novel for a film version by director J.J. Abrams.  His writing has been published in a great many periodicals including The New Yorker, Esquire, The Paris Review, Granta, The Atlantic, GQ, Tin House, The New York Times, The Irish Times, and The Guardian. He wrote a short film Everything in This Country Must, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. In addition to the National Book Award, McCann has won a Pushcart Prize, a Rooney Prize, and an Irish Novel of the Year Award, among other honors.  He was appointed to the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French government in 2009, received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2017. McCann, who holds dual Irish-American citizenship, currently lives in New York City, where he teaches creative writing at Hunter College.