Let the Great World Spin

Colum McCann has won the National Book Award for fiction for his novel Let the Great World Spin.

Colum McCann's novel tells the stories of 10 New Yorkers on a summer day in 1974 when a tightrope-walker spun above the city on a slender strand between the towers of the World Trade Center. McCann, an American citizen who was born in Ireland, paid eloquent homage to the openness of the literary world in his adopted country.

"It seems to me that American literature is able to embrace, and American publishing is able to embrace, the other," McCann said. "I believe in the power of the word. I believe, as Dave Eggers said, you've got to take this honor as a challenge. And as fiction writers and as people who believe in the word, we have to enter the anonymous corners of the human experience and to make that little corner right."

Colum McCann is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as two critically acclaimed story collections. His fiction has been published in thirty languages. He has been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was the inaugural winner of the Ireland Fund of Monaco Literary Award in Memory of Princess Grace. He has been named one of Esquire's "Best and Brightest," and his short film Everything in This Country Must was nominated for an Oscar in 2005. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review, he teaches in the Hunter College MFA Creative Writing Program. He lives in New York City with his wife and their three children.

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