Colum McCann, whose name is an anagram of “Coal mum ccnn”, was in town on Sunday and Monday to launch the Chengdu Bookworm Literary Festival.
Having just won the National Book Award in the States, as well as having JJ Abrams (“Star Trek”, “Lost” etc) snap up the film rights, Colum either is already, or soon will be used to larger turn-outs than this for his public appearances. 12 lucky people got to go to an exquisite banquet with Colum, a meal he described as possibly the best he’d had in his life (a few pics from the restaurant here). On Monday evening the small Chengdu Bookworm Lit stage room was packed as Colum read from, “Let the Great World Spin” and talked about writing, and responded to questions, ranging from his influences, work methods, the extent of political allegory/ies in his work and, crucially, what his favourite sandwich is. The Chengdu Irish Association made a strong showing. Peter Goff moderated superbly, drawing compliments from the author. It was a fun and inspirational evening, with Colum more than willing to continue to chat about a wide spectrum of topics after the formal part of the evening.
It was another excellent event at the Chengdu Bookworm, and we may or may not have extracted a promise from Colum to launch his next book at this establishment, which is gearing up to host a range of top-class authors in March, when the festival is in full swing.
Colum also visited DuJiangYan to learn about post-earthquake reconstruction work in general and the work of Sichuan Quake Relief in particular.