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Richest prize

Field Notes

A first-time novelist from

Britain won the world's richest prize for a single work of fiction Monday.

Andrew Miller scooped 100,000 Irish pounds ($135,300) and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for "Ingenious Pain," a novel about a man unable to feel pain (Harcourt Brace 1997). He beat out heavyweights like American Don DeLillo for "Underworld" and Booker Prize-winner Ian McEwan for "Enduring Love."

The judging panel described "Ingenious Pain," set in the 18th century, as a virtuoso performance with narrative skill that belies the book's status as a first novel. The work was chosen from a list of eight culled from titles nominated by libraries in more than 50 countries.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern will award this year's prize at a ceremony in Dublin on June 12.

"I am genuinely astonished to win," Mr. Miller said.

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