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IMPAC Dublin Award shortlist includes three Americans, Murakami

The IMPAC Dublin Literary Award announced its shortlist for 2013 on Tuesday, and a refreshingly diverse group it is, with five novels in translation -- from Japan, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, and France -- listed along with one British, one Irish and three American novels.  The prize, which carries a pot of more than $150,000, is the most valuable one in the world.

Shortlisted titles this year include Karen Russell's "Swamplandia" (which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer last year), "The Tragedy of Arthur" by Arthur Phillips, "The Buddha in the Attic" by Julie Otsuka and "1Q84" by Haruki Murakami. 

"This is the highest number of books in translation on the shortlist since the award began," said Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian and one of the organizers of the award. "There is something here for everyone."  Should a work in translation win, the author will receive three-fourths of the prize money, with the translator receiving one-fourth. 

Besides the higher-than-usual international turnout, there are also two first novels -- "City of Bohane" by Irishman Kevin Barry and "The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I am" by Kjersti Skomsvold of Norway -- and two previous IMPAC winners -- Michel Houellebecq, who is nominated for "The Map and the Territory" and won in 2002 for his novel "Atomised," as well as Andrew Miller, now listed for his novel "Pure," who won in 1999 for "Ingenious Pain."

The diversity of the list is perhaps not surprising: The 10 shortlisted books were selected by public libraries in countries as far flung as Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States.  An international judging panel will select a winner, to be announced June 6. 

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