The Wilkes University-affiliated press will release “American Mother,” based on the true story of murdered journalist James Foley, in Jan. 2024.
Etruscan Press, founded in 2001 and affiliated with Wilkes University since 2006, will release the first work of nonfiction of National Book Award winner Colum McCann.
Set to be released in January 2024, American Mother is written in collaboration with Diane Foley. It follows the story of Foley, whose son James was held hostage and murdered in 2014 by ISIS for being a journalist. A depiction of her courage and vision, it is a book for the times — a story of loss and breakage and ultimate repair.
“We are proud and delighted to publish Colum McCann’s American Mother,” said Co-Executive Director of Etruscan Press, Philip Brady. “Winner of many international prizes, and founder of Narrative 4, Colum McCann is one of the great voices of our day. This is a glorious book which will undoubtedly be compared with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and other groundbreaking nonfiction accounts.”
Etruscan Co-Executive Editor Robert Mooney, who worked closely with McCann on the story, commented on his editorial collaboration with his longtime friend.
“Working shoulder-to-shoulder with Colum, as well as the amazing Diane Foley, for me, was a joy and a searing exploration of great writing. Together we had to braid three distinct voices into a singular engaging narrative — Colum’s, Diane’s, and their amalgam, an empathic narrative intelligence that is the story. Getting them to work in chorus in a nonfiction work of literary journalism meant exploring meaningful truths through radical empathy.”
Mooney went on to say that Jim Foley’s closest friend, Tom Durkin, said McCann “nailed it,” that he “got Jim right, captured the fullness of his spirit on the page” and that the book “found Jim and is keeping him alive.”
Diane Foley’s story is timeless, a rare story that invites its readers, by courageous demonstration, to a larger, radically empathic humanity.
McCann was one of the founding advisory board members for the Wilkes Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he has won many awards and honors for his seven novels and three collections of short stories. Apeirogon, his most recent novel published in 2020, was an immediate international bestseller and has already received several international awards.
McCann’s Let the Great World Spin was published in 2009 and won worldwide acclaim, including the 2009 National Book Award, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, the International Impac Award 2011, a literary award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and several other major international literary prizes. In 2017 McCann was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His fiction has been published in over 40 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Paris Review, Granta, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Tin House, Bomb among others.
“I’m so honored to be working with Etruscan,” said McCann. “This is a very special book for both Diane and me, and we wanted a careful home for it. Working in nonfiction is a new step for me. I relished the challenge.”
McCann remains contracted to Penguin Random House for his fiction work. His forthcoming novel, Twist, will be published in early 2025. In addition, McCann serves as President and co-founder of Narrative 4, a global non-profit storytelling organization utilized to build empathy in young people and encourage them to improve their communities.
About Etruscan Press
Housed at Wilkes University and partnering with Youngstown State University, Etruscan is a nonprofit national literary press working to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, cultures, and voices. Etruscan publishes books of poems, novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, criticism, translation and anthologies.
Etruscan was one of four finalists for the 2021 AWP Small Press Publisher Award. Three works from Etruscan’s collection of poetry were named finalists for the National Book Award and another was named to the Longlist (the NBA’s “Top Ten” in poetry). Other titles are recipients of the Poetry Society of America’s “First Book Award,” the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award, and PEN Oakland’s “Josephine Miles Award.” Three poems published by Etruscan were selected for Best American Poetry. Most recently, titles published by Etruscan Press were awarded the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, Mass Book Award, nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, the Poet’s Prize, named a finalist for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award, Housatonic Book Award, Helen Smith Memorial Prize for Best Book of Poetry, and longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.
In March 2018, Etruscan Press and Wilkes University joined United Airlines Books on the Fly, an outreach partnership at Boston Logan International Airport that offers United customers to select Etruscan books to read on long-haul flights. This outreach partnership expanded to Denver International Airport in May 2022. The outreach initiative includes books donated by Etruscan Press.
About the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing
The mission of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing is to educate students in the craft, life, and business practices of seven areas of study — fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting, creative nonfiction, publishing and spoken word — through a commitment to excellent mentorships, publishing opportunities and industry-specific internships. Wilkes offers a nationally recognized and widely reputed graduate creative writing program where students and faculty find the writing support, community and market opportunities to become lifelong, productive, professional writers in all fields.
The Graduate Creative Writing program is offered in two formats. In the low-residency format, students learn online during the project semester and usually attend two eight-day in-person residencies each January and June. For the weekender program, students learn online and attend four online weekend class sessions each term. More at wilkes.edu/cw.