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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 13:10 GMT
Didion and Mailer win book prizes
Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer was honoured for his body of work
Author Joan Didion has won the US National Book Award for non-fiction for a memoir on the death of her husband.

The top literary prize went to Didion's Year of Magical Thinking which explored the death of John Gregory Dunne in 2003 and the severe illness of her daughter.

Quintana Roo died shortly after the book was completed.

Norman Mailer picked up the Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters at the New York ceremony, a tribute to his body of work.

William T Vollmann took the fiction prize for Europe Central and the prize for young people's fiction went to Jeanne Birdsall for The Penderwicks.

Poet and critic Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who faced obscenity charges after publishing beat poet Allen Ginsberg's Howl in 1956, was presented with a lifetime service award.

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