This edition: Colum McCann, Conan O'BrienTweet
Original tape date: November 18, 2013.
First aired: November 22, 2013.
This episode of “Irish Writers in America,” a new 13 part series from CUNY TV (City University of New York television station), features interviews with Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award winning novel, Let The Great World Spin, and Emmy Award winning humorist and TV host, Conan O’Brien.
Colum McCann talks about the complexities of his identity as an Irishmen living in New York, that a comfortable upbringing can drive one to write as much as a difficult one, and that inhabiting the “other” is paramount in his approach to writing fiction. He describes the impetus for some of his most loved works and also takes a rare look back at his earlier, lesser-known books.
Conan O’Brien discusses the challenges and benefits of writing for television and delves into the question of whether the artist must choose between happiness and creativity. He describes his trajectory from editor of the Harvard Lampoon to the writing staffs of “The Simpsons,” “Saturday Night Live,” and then his own late night talk show. In doing so he shows us that no matter how improvisational things may seem, writing has been at the heart of his career and remains so in his current work as the host of "Conan" on TBS.
Though very different in their approaches to writing, both confront the question of how to live a family life along with a creative one.