Monday 20 November 2017

Irish novelist Colum McCann on attack: 'I was cold-clocked without warning and I had severe concussion, broken cheekbone and broken teeth'

Colum McCann. Photo: Reuters
Colum McCann. Photo: Reuters
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Dublin-born author Colum McCann has spoken of the shocking ordeal he suffered when he attempted to come to a woman's aid in a dispute.

The novelist said he was "cold-clocked" in a shocking daylight attack at the weekend, and suffered concussion, a broken bone, broken teeth, and a broken spirit.

Luckily, an off-duty paramedic came straight to the his aid on Saturday night, he said.

The attack reportedly happened when McCann tried to help a woman in a dispute.

In a statement the novelist said: "It was a shocking, cowardly attack in broad daylight on a busy street. I was trying to help someone out. I was cold-clocked without warning. I had a severe concussion, a broken cheekbone, some broken teeth and a spirit that has been temporarily bruised."

"But I am recovering quickly and I've been overwhelmed by the generous response from friends and strangers alike."

"Luckily, there was an off-duty paramedic on the street and he came straight to my aid. The irony of it all is that I was at a conference on "Empathy" at Yale University with a non-profit I'm involved in, Narrative 4," he added.

The New York-based novelist said police are close to finding the attacker and pressing charges.

"The police have not yet arrested the attacker but I believe they are very close to pressing charges, using video and witness evidence," McCann said.

"I suffered a few injuries but nothing that can't be quickly healed. If anything, I was shaken out of the ruts of my ordinary perception, and I have been struck [by] the genuine caring nature of people asking about how they can help out."

"What I think is most important about this is that there are others who suffer far worse violence, and I think it's important that we try to understand that the deep roots of silence are not helpful.  We need to speak out against this sort of thing."

He added: "It could have happened anywhere in the world. The fact that it happened on the edge of one of the world's foremost colleges campuses simply highlights how prevalent this sort of situation is."

The novelist said the medical personnel who helped him were "outstanding". 

"I am deeply thankful to all who have given me support," he said.

McCann has just released his first short story in a decade, “Gone”, through the online publisher and subscription service Byliner.

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