Colum McCann is the author of the novels This Side of Brightness and Songdogs, as well as the story collections Everything in This Country Must and Fishing the Sloe-Black River. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and GQ, he has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, the Hennessy Award, the 2002 Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award, as well as being nominated as finalist to the IMPAC Prize. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he currently lives with his wife and children in New York City.
Just when we all thought they were finished, a small blond boy stepped out of the line. He extended his legs, placed his hands firmly on his hips and hitched his thumbs at his back. He bent his neck slightly forward, stretched his elbows out and began. The soldiers in their beds propped themselves up. The boy went to the floor for a squatting dance. We all stood silently watching.