Irish Writer Wins Top US Book Award

Irish writer Colum McCann’s latest book, Let the Great World Spin, has won the top fiction prize at the US National Book Awards.

The Dubliner’s latest novel is a story about life in New York City in the 1970s and earned the writer a prize of $10,000, beating off competition from four other scribes.

Colum, who grew up in Dublin before moving to Manhattan more than a decade ago, is no stranger to awards however, named one of Esquire Magazine's "Best and Brightest" in 2003, when he was also awarded a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, the Irish Novel of the Year Award and the 2002 Ireland Fund of Monaco Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award before being inducted into the Hennessy Hall of Fame.

Let the Great World Spin was officially released this year in June, with extracts published in the Paris Review late last year.

Announcing their decision the judges at the ceremony credited McCann with achieving "a gravity-defying feat".

"From 10 ordinary lives he crafts an indelibly hallucinatory portrait of a decaying New York City, and offers through his generosity of spirit and lyrical gifts an ecstatic vision of the human courage required to stay aloft above the ever-yawning abyss," they said.

The eminent US literary awards, which are in their 60th year, also honoured 84-year-old novelist, playwright and essayist Gore Vidal for his "distinguished contribution to American letters".


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