Colum McCann Wins National Book Award
Dave Eggers, Gore Vidal also honored at New York ceremony
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2009 9:12 AM CST
National Book Award winners for 2009 Phillip Hoose, left, T.J. Stiles, second from left, Colum McCann, second from right, and Keith Waldrop.   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
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(Newser) – Irish-born author Colum McCann won the National Book Award for his novel Let the Great World Spin, a fictional take on the effects of Philippe Petit’s 1970s tightrope walk between the Twin Towers on multiple New Yorkers. The non-fiction prize at last night’s ceremony went to TJ Stiles for his biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, The First Tycoon. The poetry award went to Keith Waldrop for Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy.

The prize for children’s literature went to Phillip Hoose for his Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, a biography of a black woman who refused to give her seat on a Montgomery bus nine months before Rosa Parks did. Dave Eggers won a community service award, while Gore Vidal took the award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters with a cryptic speech, the New York Times reports. “Nowadays it seems the progress of literature is to first print the book and then pulp it,” he said.

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