Irish author McCann wins IMPAC Dublin Award

Irish writer Column McCann has won the prestigious IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Let The Great World Spin, his novel set in 1970s New York.
Author Colum McCann has won the 2011 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his novel Let the Great World Spin. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Irish writer Colum McCann has won the prestigious IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Let The Great World Spin, his novel set in 1970s New York.

Nominated by more than a dozen libraries around the globe, McCann's book triumphed amid a strong slate of finalists that included Canadian Michael Crummey (nominated for his historical novel Galore) and past winners David Malouf and Colm Toibin (contenders for Ransom and Brooklyn, respectively). Overall, 162 titles were submitted for the latest competition.

The New York-based McCann is the second Irish author (after Toibin) to win the €100,000 (nearly $159,000 Cdn) prize, among the world's most lucrative literary honours.

The judging panel praised McCann's novel — which weaves together the stories of 10 New Yorkers — as "a remarkable literary work" and "a genuinely 21st century novel that speaks to its time, but is not enslaved by it."

They added: "Its beguiling nature leaves the reader with as much uncertainty as we feel throughout our lives, but therein lies the power of fiction and of this book in particular."

Let the Great World Spin also won the U.S. National Book Award in 2009.

Established by Dublin City Council, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award calls upon library systems around the world to submit their nominations for the best novel published in or translated into English.

Past winners have included Canadians Rawi Hage (2008 for De Niro's Game) and Alistair MacLeod (2001 for No Great Mischief), Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk (2003 for My Name is Red) and Australia's David Malouf (1996 for Remembering Babylon).