Spotlight on Mike McCormack
Mike McCormack is currently writer-in-residence at Villanova University in the USA. The author of the globally-acclaimed novel Solar Bones, he was elected to the Hennessy Hall of Fame this year.
He was born in London to Mayo parents in 1965 but as a young boy elected to live with his grandparents in Mayo. As he said recently, “North Mayo really is the real wild west, flat land and huge open skies and the sea all around us, my sense of scale and immensity was formed in those years.”
He was schooled in a co-ed convent, by nuns, priests and lay teachers. He became a self-confessed an insatiable reader of books, comics, magazines, newspapers and anything with print on them. He devoured Enid Blyton and his father’s collection of cowboy books by JT Edson, Luke Short, Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour, getting lost in their dusty cowpoke towns and in the desert landscapes.
His fascination with reading continued while he studied English and Philosophy at UCG, including the science fiction of Philip K Dick and JG Ballard, and the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In 1998, his Getting It In the Head was hailed was a New York Timesbook of the year. A story from his collection, The Terms, was adapted into an award-winning short film.
In 2006, Notes From A Coma was named Novel of the Year by the Irish Book Awards. In 2016, came Solar Bones. It went on to win the Goldsmith Prize and attracted much attention as it was written as a single sentence. He was elected to Aosdana in 2018, the same year Solar Boneswon the Dublin Literary Prize worth €100,000, the largest literary prize in the world for a single novel published in English.
When he’s writing a novel or short story Mike is never conscious of who might read it or publish it. As he admits, “That’s the way it was with Solar Bones, five years following and listening to this voice, and when it was finished wondering what publisher would take a punt on it. As it happened, only one publisher was willing to go with it, Tramp Press, as everyone else turned it down.”
We are delighted to be interviewing Mike McCormack at this year’s Write By The Sea festival.