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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Footballer's name on book shortlist
Luther Blissett
Blissett was an England footballer and AC Milan player
The Guardian First Book Prize 2003 shortlist includes a book written by an Italian collective under the name of an ex-England footballer.

Q, is a novel written by a group of four Italian writers who pooled their identities under one name - that of former Watford striker Luther Blissett.

The list also includes Brick Lane by Monica Ali, Monique Truongs' The Book of Salt and Anne Funder's Stasiland.

The winner, who will receive 10,000, will be announced in December.

Guardian First Book Prize 2003
The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies by John Murray
Q by Luther Blissett
Into the Silent Land by Paul Broks
Duende by Jason Webster
Mountains of the Mind by Robert Macfarlane
Stasiland by Anna Funder
The Last Party by John Harris

Q, which is based during the Reformation in Germany and Italy, was written by Roberto Bui, Federico Guglielmi, Luca Di Meo and Giovanni Catabriga. It is named after its principal villain, a Vatican secret agent.

They named the book after Blissett because the former Watford striker and England international had become a cult figure in Italy following a disastrous spell at AC Milan in 1982.

Blissett, most recently a coach at Division Three side York City, was unaware of his name being used.

"People were saying to me 'you should read it', but why? It's got nothing to do with me," The Guardian quoted him as saying on Wednesday.

John Harris' The Last Party
The Last Party is a look at Britpop music and politics

The shortlist's best-known inclusion is Brick Lane, by Monica Ali, about two Muslim sisters in the East End of London and Bangladesh.

The five non-fiction entries include Stasiland, about the secret police state in the former East Germany, and The Last Party, John Harris' retrospective on the Britpop era of the mid-1990s.

Last year the prize was won by Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated, a novel about a young American Jew's return to the Ukraine to find the village of his ancestors.

In 2000 the prize was won by Zadie Smith for her debut novel White Teeth.

Illuminated lights up Guardian prize
03 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Cartoonist wins Guardian book prize
06 Dec 01  |  Entertainment
Smith takes first book prize
07 Dec 00  |  Entertainment

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