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Jim Crace, Colm Toibin among Booker contenders

LONDON – Jim Crace, Tash Aw and Colm Toibin are among 13 authors competing for the prestigious Man 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 $75,000 prize on Oct. 15.

Last year’s winner was Hilary Mantel for her Tudor political saga “Bring Up the Bodies.”

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