Israeli novelist Yishai Sarid has been nominated for an International Impac Dublin Literary Award for his book Limassol, which was published in 2009. The award is considered one of the most prestigious in the world of fictional literature, and comes with a 100,000 Euro prize for the winning author and translator.
The novel, a thriller, tells the story of an Israeli Shin Bet agent who goes undercover to study creative writing with a Tel Aviv author and peace activist whose friend, a Palestinian poet, is the father of a wanted terrorist leader.
The book drew international attention in 2010 following the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, when the media noted striking parallels between the book's plot and the affair.
The final list of candidates for the prize includes ten authors, chosen from a pool of 147 writers. Aside from Sarid's novel, the only other translated work included in the list is The Eternal Sun, by Brazilian author Cristovao Tezza. The candidates were chosen by 162 public libraries in 45 countries.
According to the British newspaper the Guardian, the longer list of candidates included well-known authors such as Howard Jacobson, who won a Booker Prize this year for his book The Finkler Question, as well as Israeli author David Grossman, for his book To the End of the Land.
The prize has been granted since 1996, and has often been won by lesser-known authors. The award's jury includes British author Tim Parks, Irish novelist Mike McCormackand Trinidadian writer Elizabeth Nunez.
Sarid, 47, is the son of former government minister Yossi Sarid and a lawyer who specializes in civil and criminal litigation. In October 2011, Sarid won the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for best foreign crime novel of the year for his first novel, Easy Prey, published in 2000. Limassol is Sarid's second book.
Sarid told Haaretz he was both "surprised and honored" by the nomination, and was pleased that the book was winning acclaim "on its own merits."
Meanwhile, another Israeli author, Aharon Appelfeld, was shortlisted for the British newspaper Independent's 2012 Foreign Fiction Prize, alongside Umberto Eco, Judith Hermann and three others for his book Blooms of Darkness.
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