Belfast Telegraph

Helping to close the page on grief

By Jane Graham

During interviews in America for his new novel TransAtlantic this week, Irish writer and National Book Award recipient Colum McCann has been speaking about how his last novel, Let the Great World Spin, was used by Newtown teachers and psychologists to help children "navigate their grief" in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre which saw 20 schoolchildren and six adults gunned down in December last year.

McCann says the selection of his book, a brilliant page-turner about thrill, hope and loss, is "possibly the greatest honour of my life". And it was clear, as he described his meetings with the survivors of the shooting, that he was deeply moved by the experience. "We spoke about grief and resilience," he said. "One of them told me he read my novel four times."

The power of great fiction to reach places which conversation, therapy and medicine can't must never be underestimated. How wonderful for those teachers to have shown that to be true.

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