Nominated by:

Halifax Public Libraries, Canada

Dublin City Public Libraries, Ireland

Waterford City & County Libraries, Ireland

Liverpool City Libraries, UK

New Hampshire State Library, Concord, USA

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bloomsbury, UK

Random House, USA

HarperCollins Canada


Colum McCann      

2015 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

Colum McCann, always a generous writer, has given us three stories in one novel: former slave and black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass pays a visit to famine-stricken Ireland; pioneer airmen Alcock and Brown, make the first non-stop transatlantic flight; George Mitchell, American senator, struggles to oversee the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast. The lives of these men connect across time and the Atlantic Ocean, in this beautifully crafted and courageous novel.

About the Book

In 1919 Emily Ehrlich watches as two young airmen, Alcock and Brown, emerge from the carnage of World War One to pilot the very first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland. In 1845 Frederick Douglass, a black American slave, lands in Ireland to champion ideas of democracy and freedom, only to find a famine unfurling at his feet. And in 1998 Senator George Mitchell criss-crosses the ocean in search of an elusive Irish peace. Stitching these stories intricately together, Colum McCann sets out to explore the fine line between what is real and what is imagined, and the tangled skein of connections that make up our lives.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Colum McCann, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is the author of six novels and two collections of stories. His most recent novel, the New York Times bestseller Let the Great World Spin, won the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and several other major international awards. His fiction has been published in thirty-five languages. He lives in New York.

Librarians’ Comments

TransAtlantic is a brilliant fusing of three stories in various historical periods that shows the progress of society and impact of historical wrongs set in Newfoundland, Dublin and New York. Colum McCann’s writing is brilliant, he creates characters with rich voices who are interconnected in this migration story. Longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Lyrical and stylish, McCann’s latest Hiberno-American novel follows significant men of American history and their visits to Ireland, adding texture to the past by exploring the people who supported them and the way their pasts and futures interact.

A very clever and engrossing read, intertwining three stories in amazing detail. Beautifully written.

TransAtlantic is a delight to read. Through writing that is both lyrically lush and detailed, the reader meets fascinating characters, historically grounded in the 19th and 20th centuries, who are deftly linked through their connections to Ireland and America.

A one-of-a-kind novel, TransAtlantic deftly blends fact and fiction in short descriptive phrases from which truth emerges. The novel flows like a gentle stream, each protagonist’s interior landscape of impressions, sights, sounds and feelings being precisely chronicled within.

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