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Booker Prize nominee Colum McCann focused on breaking down barriers - one word at a time

Booker Prize nominee opens up on his novel about societal division – and how it mirrors the events in America today

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Critically acclaimed: Colum McCann is in the running for the €55,000 cheque that accompanies the Booker Prize after his most recent novel, ‘Apeirogon’, was nominated for the prestigious award. Photo: Conor McCabe.

Critically acclaimed: Colum McCann is in the running for the €55,000 cheque that accompanies the Booker Prize after his most recent novel, ‘Apeirogon’, was nominated for the prestigious award. Photo: Conor McCabe.

Critically acclaimed: Colum McCann is in the running for the €55,000 cheque that accompanies the Booker Prize after his most recent novel, ‘Apeirogon’, was nominated for the prestigious award. Photo: Conor McCabe.

Listed for the Booker or not, Colum McCann has a lot on his mind. He'd been pounding the streets of Manhattan when we spoke.

"My book ['Apeirogon'] is about divisions, and could be set anywhere - Ireland, Syria or the United States," he says.

"Despite the appearance of overwhelming evidence on our public forums and TV screens, we're certainly not as stupid as our political representatives seem to want us to be. The loudmouths in the corners get all the soundbites these days, but we are far closer to each other than they give us credit for."