Rory MacLean


Rory MacLean

Rory MacLean is a Canadian travel writer living in the UK whose best known works are "Stalin’s Nose", a black and surreal travelogue through eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and "Magic Bus", a history of the Asia Overland hippie trail.

Biography

MacLean was born in Vancouver and grew up in Toronto, graduating from Upper Canada College and Ryerson University. For ten years he made movies with moderate success, working with David Hemmings and Ken Russell in England, David Bowie in Berlin and Marlene Dietrich in Paris. In 1989 he won The Independent inaugural travel writing competition and changed from screen to prose writing.

Books

MacLean’s first book, "Stalin's Nose" (1992), told the story of a journey from Berlin to Moscow in a Trabant and became a UK top ten best-seller, winning the Yorkshire Post's Best First Work prize. William Dalrymple called it, ‘the most extraordinary debut in travel writing since Bruce Chatwin’s "In Patagonia"’ [William Dalrymple, in the first edition of "Stalin’s Nose" (HarperCollins, London 1992) ] . Colin Thubron considered the book to be ‘a surreal masterpiece’ [ Colin Thubron, in his Introduction to the new edition of "Stalin’s Nose" (Tauris Parke, London, 2008)] .

His second book "The Oatmeal Ark" (1997) followed, exploring immigrant dreams from Scotland and across Canada and inspiring John Fowles to write, 'Such a book as this rather marvellously explains why literature still lives' [ John Fowles, "Taking Ghosts", The Spectator (London) 12 April 1997 p.37] . It was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Then, when the chance arose to meet the Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, MacLean travelled to Burma. "Under the Dragon" (1998) tells the tragic story of the betrayed land and won an Arts Council of England Writers' Award [MacLean received an Arts Council of England Writers’ Award on 29 May 1997] .

For his fifth book "Falling for Icarus" (2004), MacLean moved to Crete to hand build -- and fly once -- a flying machine to come to terms with the death of his mother and to examine the relevance of Greek mythology to modern lives. In his sixth book "Magic Bus" (2006) MacLean followed the hundreds of thousands of Western kids who in the Sixties and Seventies blazed the 'hippie trail' from Istanbul to India.

According to the "Financial Times", MacLean 'is expanding the boundaries of travel writing by trampling the borders between fact and fiction' [Michael Thompson-Noel, "Time Travel at its Best", Financial Times (London) 22 March 1997 p. 34] . Colin Thubron writes that his distinctive work is in a literary genre of his own, a ‘hyper-real world’ not of travelogue or literal reality but of intense distillation of a journey [ Colin Thubron, in his Introduction to the new edition of "Stalin’s Nose" (Tauris Parke, London, 2008)] . In all of his books he tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary men and women, and through fictional devices and creative aplomb enables the reader to empathise with their lives, society and times.

List of books

External links

* [http://www.rorymaclean.com/ Rory MacLean's website]
* [http://www.magicbus.info/ Magic Bus website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/rams/buildingicarus.ram/ Maclean about to fly the Woodhopper]

Notes and References


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