Patrick deWitt won the $25,000 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for his comic western "The Sisters Brothers" Tuesday.

The novel, about two gunslinger brothers making a trip to California during the 1850s, had earlier won the $25,000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

The book was also nominated for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller.

The GG Jury refered to deWitt's book as a "rollicking tale of hired guns, faithful horses and alchemy."

Speaking to CTV's National Affairs Tuesday afternoon, deWitt said the western genre gave him a chance to try different things with his writing.

"I was drawn to the openness of it, I was interested in telling a more traditional story than anything I've done in the past," he said.

But he noted the main character is a bit of a modern neurotic -- something missing in historical novels.

Originally from Vancouver Island, deWitt now lives in Portland, Oregon.

He credits a grant from the Canada Council of the Arts for helping him finish his award-winning novel.

"It's tricky to make a living as a writer of literary fiction," he said. "I ran out of money halfway through the writing of this novel. If (the grant) hadn't happened I would have gone back to work as a construction worker and that could have completely interrupted the flow of the work.

"I‘m thankful for the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts."

The Governor General's Literary Awards, administered by the Canada Council, are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year.

English and French-language winners in seven categories were unveiled Tuesday morning at a Toronto news conference.