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Colum McCann wins the first annual Medici Book Club Prize

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(Read caption) Colum McCann was born in Ireland, but today lives in New York, where his award-winning novel "Let the Great World Spin" is set.

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Congratulations to Colum McCann, who has just been awarded the first annual Medici Book Club Prize for his novel "Let the Great World Spin" for a "distinguished work of fiction that has inspired thoughtful conversation and contributed to a deeper understanding of the human experience."

"Let the Great World Spin," which was also a 2009 National Book Award winner, is set in New York City on Aug. 7, 1974 – the day that French high-wire artist Philippe Petit walked, hopped, and lay on a wire stretched 110 stories up between the World Trade Center towers. Monitor fiction reviewer Yvonne Zipp wrote of the novel that McCann "performs his own gravity-defying act, swooping from prostitutes to priests, drug-addled artists to grieving mothers as his story unfolds around that morning."

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McCann will receive $5,000 for the award, which is intended to "acknowledge the tremendous impact that book club selections have on readers."

The Medici Book Club Prize nominees are selected by an advisory council which includes Julie Robinson, co-founder of the Beverly Hills Literary Escape, and Barbara Mead, co-owner of Reading Group Choices, among other judges.

To read the Monitor's review of "Let the Great World Spin" and to hear an interview with Colum McCann, click here.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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