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Author Tim O'Brien wins Pritzker award for military writing

(Reuters) - U.S. author Tim O'Brien was awarded the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, the first fiction writer to win the six-year-old prize, the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago said on Tuesday.

O'Brien, a Vietnam War veteran, is best known for his 1990 story collection "The Things They Carried" about a platoon of U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War.

"Tim O'Brien's fiction about Vietnam, which derives from his own experience as a soldier, is haunting, evocative and wonderfully inventive," historian Rick Atkinson, the 2011 award winner, said in a statement.

"Yet his writing transcends that particular war in that particular era to illuminate our sense of war universally," Atkinson added.

Minnesota native O'Brien, 66, also won the National Book Award for Fiction for his 1978 war novel, "Going After Cacciato."

The lifetime achievement award hands out a $100,000 cash prize annually. Past winners include U.S. Civil War historian James McPherson and British historian Max Hastings.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and David Gregorio)