Miriam Meets..... Sean McCann and his son, Colum McCann
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This week, Miriam meets award-winning novellist Colum Mc Cann and his father Sean.
Sean McCann was Features Editor on the Evening Press for many years. As well as nurturing talents that became household names, Sean enjoyed a successful career as a writer himself, especially on two of his great passions – football and roses.
His son, Colum McCann has written two collections of short stories and has enjoyed critical acclaim for his novels including Dancer, This Side of Brightness and, Let the Great World Spin which has won so many awards, including the United States National Book Award for fiction.
Colum now lives in Manhattan, and while he was on a visit home Miriam met both men at the McCann family home in South Dublin.
Colum recalls growing up in a house full of books and how his father would arrive home at four o'clock each day from his job at the Evening Press with the newspapers and a box of books.
Colum says that nowadays, whenever he finishes a new piece of writing, he sends it home to his father for his approval and his sharp editorial eye. This mirrors Colum's childhood when his father wrote a series of novels about football for children and Colum was his first reader!
Sean spotted Colum's talent early on, but advised his son against a career in journalism. That said, Colum recalls many happy times in his youth, observing his father at work in the Evening Press.
Colum pays tribute to his father's achievements as a writer in his own right as well as his contribution to nurturing the talents of others. Sean brought many writers in to write for the Irish Press and fostered many talents through his work in The People's College. Sean, as well as being interested in writing, played professional football in his youth and also has a keen interest in roses.
Sean has not enjoyed good health of late, but Colum described how things have happened that might not otherwise have happened - he read aloud to his father from Hemmingway's novel The Old Man and the Sea as he waited for an x-ray recently in hospital; when a broken shoulder put Sean out of action, Colum was able to shave him.
Both Sean and Colum recall Christmastime when they were children. Colum, who will spend this Christmas in New York, recalls the ticking of the radiators in the living room on Christmas morning as all five McCann children came to get their presents. He also reminds Sean of the story that Sean tells of how when he was a boy, his father got him a donkey for Christmas. But such were the family circumstances at the time, the donkey had to be sold three days later as they needed the money.
Christmas in the McCann household always features Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales being played on vinyl. The programme concludes with an extract from this piece.