Salon Series: A Conversation with Author Mike McCormack
May 21, 2018
NYU Washington, DC, Solas Nua, the Irish Arts Center - NYC, the Embassy of Ireland, and the EU Delegation European Month of Culture presented acclaimed author Mike McCormack.
Mike McCormack is an award-winning novelist and short story writer from County Mayo in Ireland. His previous work includes Forensic Songs; Notes from a Coma, which was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award; Crowe's Requiem, and Getting It in the Head, which was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He lives in Galway.
Travel for the event was sponsored by Culture Ireland.
Joining Mike McCormack in the evening's dialogue was the Co-Founder of Tramp Press, Sarah Davis-Goff. Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Alice McDermott, served as moderator. Copies of both McCormack's Solar Bones and McDermott's The Ninth Hour were sold after the program.
Sarah Davis-Goff, Co-Founder, Tramp Press
Tramp Press was launched by Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen in 2014 with the publication of Flight by Oona Frawley. Our aim is to find, nurture and publish exceptional literary talent. Tramp Press is committed to finding only the best and most deserving books, by new and established writers. We’ve subsequently published critically acclaimed authors including Thomas Morris, Sara Baume, Joanna Walsh, and Mike McCormack.
Tramp wishes to engage the best practices of traditional publishers – to create lasting editorial relationships with authors in order to support their life’s work, and to provide long-term support. We gratefully acknowledge the support we receive from the Arts Council towards the costs of publishing our titles.
Our authors have gone on to win Irish Book Awards, the Rooney Prize, a Lannan Fellowship, nominations for the Guardian First Book Award, the Edinburgh First Book award, the Dublin Literary Award and lots more. In 2015 Tramp Press won the David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Award for the arts category. Our books are distributed throughout Ireland, the UK and the US, and have found critical acclaim in the TLS, Guardian, Literary Review, Irish Times and more.
People who love books will always want excellent writing. We want to help them get their hands on it.
Moderator: Alice McDermott, Professor, Johns Hopkins University
Alice McDermott’s eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in September. Her seventh novel, Someone, 2013, was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Patterson Prize for Fiction, and The Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Someone was also long-listed for the National Book Award. Three of her previous novels, After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Charming Billy won the National Book Award for fiction in 1998 and was a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award. That Night was also a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Harpers, Commonweal and elsewhere. She has received the Whiting Writers Award, the Carington Award for Literary Excellence, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature. In 2013, she was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.
Solar Bones is a masterwork that builds its own style and language one broken line at a time; the result is a visionary accounting of the now.
A vital, tender, death-haunted work by one of Ireland’s most important contemporary writers, Solar Bones is a celebration of the unexpected beauty of life and of language, and our inescapable nearness to our last end. It is All Souls Day, and the spirit of Marcus Conway sits at his kitchen table and remembers. In flowing, relentless prose, Conway recalls his life in rural Ireland: as a boy and man, father, husband, citizen. His ruminations move from childhood memories of his father’s deftness with machines to his own work as a civil engineer, from transformations in the local economy to the tidal wave of global financial collapse. Conway’s thoughts go still further, outward to the vast systems of time and history that hold us all. He stares down through the “vortex of his being,” surveying all the linked circumstances that combined to bring him into this single moment, and he makes us feel, if only for an instant, all the terror and gratitude that existence inspires.
The Ninth Hour
The Ninth Hour is a magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writers―a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.
On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove―to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife―“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.
We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.
The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today.
The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists offers an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us.