CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College congratulates novelist Colum McCann on winning the 2011 International Impac Award for his novel Let the Great World Spin. McCann was selected over nine other nominees to become the second Irish author to win the prize, worth about $140,000 in U.S. currency. The award was presented June 15 in Dublin. For more on the award, see coverage in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, and in the Irish Times.
McCann has been a great friend of Washington College in recent years. He visited campus twice to read from his work and meet with students, and on May 17 at a special reception in New York he delivered keynote remarks before announcing the winner of this year’s Sophie Kerr Prize. He used his keynote thoughts as a jumping-off point for an essay he wrote for the upcoming Summer issue of Washington College Magazine.
In his remarks that evening, McCann commented on the power of literary prizes such as the Sophie Kerr to encourage a writer’s career: “I got my first literary award when I was 21, from the Irish Arts Council. It was a significant thing that allowed me voice. It bought me about two years of writing time—it was a small amount of money, but I parsed it out as much as I could. It was more important to me than virtually any other award that came after, purely in terms of how it enabled me to work.”
To watch a video of McCann’s May 17th remarks about Washington College and the literary life, click here.
Photo: McCann with his Impac Award and the book that earned it. Photo by Niall Carson/PA.