Belfast Telegraph

Colum McCann wins literary prize

Irish author Colum McCann has won the world's richest literary prize.

The writer's latest novel, Let The Great World Spin, was selected for the International Impac Dublin Award from a shortlist of 10 picked by 166 libraries worldwide.

McCann is the second Irish author to win the prize after Colm Toibin's success in 2006 for The Master.

The novel, described by the judging panel as a remarkable literary work, is set in New York in 1974 and begins as daredevil Philippe Petit pulls off a jawdropping stunt walking a tightrope between the Twin Towers.

A story of colliding cultures, it explores the lives of a radical Irish monk in the Bronx, an Upper East Side bereaved housewife, a proud young woman suffering years of hardship, a drug-addled young artist, a prostitute and her daughter and how their stories intertwine and are transformed.

Let The Great World Spin was the most popular choice of libraries worldwide, receiving 14 nominations including from libraries in Ireland, Germany, Greece, Norway, the US and Canada.

The honour, which is open to any literary work in English, was presented by Dublin's Lord Mayor and patron of the award, Gerry Breen.

"Colum McCann joins a long list of eminent novelists to win this award," he said. "And it is wonderful and fitting to have a Dublin winner in the year that Dublin was awarded Unesco City of Literature designation, a designation in perpetuity."

McCann's prize money for the award is 100,000 euro.

Let The Great World Spin beat competition from 161 other titles, nominated by 166 public libraries from 43 countries.

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