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Colum McCann on his novel TransAtlantic; mental health and fiction

Column McCann on his novel TransAtlantic which explores the relationship between Ireland and the USA, plus mental health and fiction, and more weird things people say in bookshops.

Colum McCann discusses his latest novel TransAtlantic. Set across almost two centuries, it explores the key moments in Irish/ US history, from the potato famine, the American civil war to the Good Friday agreement and examines the links and differences between these two countries separated by the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Two authors, who have experience life in a mental health institution from both sides, discuss what fiction can do to challenge the taboos that still exist in relation to mental illness. Nathan Filer is a qualified mental health nurse, whose debut novel, The Shock of the Fall, was hotly fought over by publishers in an eleven way bidding war and Clare Allan is the author of Poppy Shakespeare, a fictionalised account of institutional life written after she had experienced that world as a patient.

Last year Mariella talked to Jen Campbell about her complication of wonderful and humorous comments made and questions asked by customers to staff in bookshops. It's proved such popular and fertile territory that there's now a sequel. Open Book presents an affectionate snapshot of some of the gems found in More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

Available now

28 minutes


Role Contributor
Presenter Mariella Frostrup
Interviewed Guest Colum McCann
Interviewed Guest Nathan Filer
Interviewed Guest Clare Allan
Producer Andrea Kidd
Editor Fiona Couper


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