Thirteen Booker Prize finalists announced

Jim Crace, Tash Aw and Colm Toibin are among 13 authors competing for the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction in a field, announced Tuesday, that’s heavy with new writing talent.

Harvest by Britain’s Crace, Five Star Billionaire by Malaysia’s Aw and Irish writer Toibin’s The Testament of Mary are among nominated books from Britain, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Malaysia and Ireland.

Americans are ineligible for the prize, which is open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth. But several of the books are by U.S.-based writers, including The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri – born in Britain to Indian parents – and TransAtlantic by Ireland-born Colum McCann.

Also on the list are We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo; The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton; The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris; The Kills by Richard House; Alison MacLeod’s Unexploded; Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson; A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki; and Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart.

Judging panel chair Robert Macfarlane said the list was the most diverse in prize history, “wonderfully various in terms of geography, form, length and subject.”

Seven of the books are by women, three are first novels and only two of the writers, Crace and Toibin, are previous Booker finalists.

A shortlist will be announced Sept. 10 and the winner of the 50,000 pound ($75,000 prize) on Oct. 15.

Founded in 1969, the award is officially known as the Man Booker Prize after its sponsor, financial services firm Man Group PLC. Last year’s winner was Hilary Mantel for her Tudor political saga Bring Up the Bodies.

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