Celebrated novelists Carol Shields, Zadie Smith and Donna Tartt have been shortlisted for the 2003 Orange Prize for Fiction.
Zadie Smith won acclaim for her debut novel White Teeth
The award, which honours the best in fiction written by women, carries with it a £30,000 prize.
The shortlist was whittled down from a 20-strong list by a panel of judges including author Audaf Soueif and model and writer Sophie Dahl.
US author Tartt has been shortlisted for The Little Friend, which was published 10 years after her debut novel The Secret History.
Shields, who won the Orange prize in 1998, has been selected for Unless, while Smith's second novel The Autograph Man also made the cut.
Buddha Da - Anne Donovan
Heligoland - Shena Mackay
Property - Valerie Martin
Unless - Carol Shields
The Autograph Man - Zadie Smith
The Little Friend - Donna Tartt
Also on the shortlist are British authors Anne Donavan for Buddha Da and Shena Mackay for Heligoland.
American writer Valerie Martin's New Orleans-set tale Property will also be vying for the prize cheque.
Last year's winner was Anne Patchett for her book Bel Canto. Previous winners of the prize include Kate Grenville, Linda Grant and Helen Dunmore.
Chair of the judges Ahdaf Soueif, said: "Choosing the six novels to be shortlisted for the Orange Prize has been a challenge and a pleasure.
"Readers will find the innovative and the classical, the formal and the unbuttoned, the generous and the spare, the focused and the diverse. The books' locations, periods and dictions are wonderfully varied."
The winner will be revealed at a ceremony on 3 June.