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Colum McCann scoops National Book Award

19th November 2009

Irish-born writer Colum McCann has won the US National Book Award for fiction with his novel Let the Great World Spin.

McCann saw off competition from a shortlist which included Marcel Theroux, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Daniyal Mueenuddin and Jayne Anne Phillips to take home USD 10,000 (GBP 6,000) from the National Book Foundation.

Commenting on his triumph, the writer said: 'One only has to look down the roll-call of nominees through the years to realise what an incredible honour it is. It's humbling and thrilling.'

On the publication of Let the Great World Spin, McCann granted Foyles an exclusive interview - in which he revealed that his passion for writing about social and political issues probably stems from his career as a journalist.

The awards, which were announced yesterday (November 18th), saw T. J. Stiles win the non-fiction prize with The First Tycoon, his biography of US businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt, while Keith Waldrop took home the poetry prize for his Transcendental Studies.

Gore Vidal also received the medal for distinguished contribution to American letters and Dave Eggers was handed the literarian award, which recognises service to the US literary community.

Past winners of the National Book Award for fiction include Peter Matthiessen, Denis Johnson and Richard Powers.

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