Colum McCann wins Impac award


New-York based Irish novelist Colum McCann has won the world's richest literary award for his novel Let the Great World Spin.

McCann beat nine other nominees to become the second Irish author to win the €100,000 International Impac Dublin Literary Award.

Let the Great World Spin uses Philippe Petit’s famous high-wire crossing between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in 1974 as a motif around which to assemble the stories of 10 New York characters.

The novel, which won the coveted National Book award in 2009, was described by the Impac judging panel as a "remarkable literary work".

“[It is] a genuinely 21st century novel that speaks to its time but is not enslaved by it.

“In the opening pages of Let The Great World Spin, the people of New York city stand breathless and overwhelmed as a great artist dazzles them in a realm that seemed impossible until that moment; Colum McCann does the same thing in this novel, leaving the reader just as stunned as the New Yorkers, just as moved and just as grateful,” the panel added.

McCann was born and raised in Dublin, but he has lived in the United States since 1994. He attended St Brigid’s National School in Foxrock, Co Dublin, and Clonkeen College in Deansgrange.

A total of ten novels were included on this year's shortlist including books from two other Irish authors. Colm Tóibín, winner in 2006 with The Master, was nominated again for Brooklyn, while William Trevor was included for his 14th novel, Love and Summer.

Another Irish author, Peter Murphy, was included on the award's longlist this year for his well-received debut novel, John the Revelator .

Other nominees for this year's award include Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna , Yiyun Li for The Vagrants, David Malouf for Ransom and Evie Wyld for After the Fire, A Still, Small Voice.

An initiative of Dublin City Council and the productivity improvement firm Impac, the prize awards writers of fiction that is published in English. Dublin City Public Libraries received 166 nominations from public libraries from 126 cities worldwide for this year's awards.

Recent previous winners of the prize include The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker, Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas, De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage, and Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson.

The five member international judging panel, which included Irish novelist John Byrne, was chaired by retired US judge the Hon Eugene R Sullivan.