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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 14:34 GMT
'Genre-breaking' novels lead awards
The five shortlisted books
Five books have made it to the shortlist of The Guardian First Book Awards
Two "genre-breaking novels" are favourite to win the Guardian first book awards this year.

Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, the story of a young Jewish-American's life-changing visit to Ukraine, is a strong favourite.

Next on the list is Hari Kunzru's The Impressionist, about the son of an Indian opium addict mother and a British forester father.

The other books making the shortlist include Mapping Mars, a history of the red planet; Alexandra Fuller's Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight, a story of her childhood in Rhodesia; and Sandra Newman's magic realist The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done.

Public vote

The winner of the competition takes away a 10,000 prize.

The shortlist has been picked by the public - four reading groups in Glasgow, London, Brighton and Oxford chose the titles.

The winning book is decided by a panel of judges - including novelist Irvine Welsh, broadcaster Mark Lawson and actor Kathy Burke - on 3 December.

The competition, formerly known as the Guardian Fiction Award, has been running for 37 years.

Past winners of the award include John Berger, Beryl Bainbridge, Neil Jordan, JG Ballard and Tim Lott.

The 2002 award was won by Chris Ware for Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid on Earth.

See also:

06 Dec 01 | Entertainment
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