Michael Collins (Irish author)

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Collins at Toronto Ireland Park
Michael Collins at Toronto's Ireland Park Famine Memorial

Michael Collins (born 1964) is an Irish novelist and international ultra-distance runner. His novel The Keepers of Truth was shortlisted for the 2000 Booker Prize. He has also won the Irish Novel of the Year Award and the Lucien Barriere Literary Prize at the Deauville American Film Festival. The award honours the best American Fiction published in France. Collins is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Oxford University.


Collins grew up in Limerick, and attended St Munchin's College. In 1981 while attending Rye High School (New York), he won the New York State Cross Country Title and competed in the prestigious Fifth Avenue Mile.[citation needed]


In 1983 he was awarded an athletic scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he earned his undergraduate degree and a Masters of Fine Arts. He went on to earn a PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1997 with an emphasis in computer-aided technologies where he worked on some of the first generation online applications that eventually morphed into the Netscape browser. While doing his doctorate he wrote The New York Times notable book of the year, The Meat Eaters (English title), The Man Who Dreamt of Lobsters (American title).

After graduate school, Collins worked as a programmer writer at Microsoft at its Redmond, Washington headquarters. While at Microsoft he penned his short-listed Booker Prize novel, The Keepers of Truth. He is the author of nine works of fiction, including novels and short stories which have been translated into twenty languages. His work has garnered numerous awards, including Irish Novel of the Year, along with being shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and Impac Prize, and his work has been twice selected for inclusion in The New York Times Notable Books of the Year. His novel, The Secret Life of E. Robert Pendleton was selected as the Breakout Novel of the Year in France in 2007.

Athletic achievements[edit]

A former member of the Irish National Team for the 100k distance (62.2 miles, Collins holds the Irish national masters record over the 100k distance. As captain of the Irish National Team in 2010 he won a bronze medal at the World 100k Championships held in Gibraltar, and led home all Irish athletes.

He returned to running and found international form again as he began competing in extreme races. In November 1999, after completing The Keepers of Truth, and slogging out 100-mile training weeks, aside from programming and writing, he won The 100-mile Himalayan Stage Race and also The Mount Everest Challenge Marathon.

Michael Collins enroute to winning The North Pole Marathon


  • The Meat Eaters (short stories, also published as The Man who Dreamt of Lobsters), 1992
  • The Life and Times of a Teaboy, 1993
  • The Feminists Go Swimming, 1994
  • Emerald Underground, 1998
  • The Keepers of Truth, 2000
  • The Resurrectionists, 2003
  • Lost Souls, 2004
  • Death of a Writer (British title: The Secret Life of E. Robert Pendleton), 2006
  • Midnight in a Perfect Life (British title), 2010

External links[edit]