Little-known authors Nadeem Aslam, Achmat Dangor and John Bemrose are among the 22 authors to make this year's Booker Prize longlist.
Nadeem Aslam, took 11 years to write his book, Maps for Lost Lovers
Big name authors like Louis de Bernieres, Jeanette Winterson and VS Naipaul have been ignored in favour of
"I'm particularly pleased that there are a number of first or second novels on the list," said Chris Smith MP.
The winner will be decided from a shortlist and announced on 19 October.
Six of the 22 longlist nominees are first time authors, including Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, John Bembrose's The Island Walkers and Louise Dean's Becoming Strangers.
Nicholas Shakespeare and Colm Toibin are among the better-known nominees to make the longlist.
The prestigious Booker Prize is for the best novel of the last 12 months by an author from a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland.
The 2004 shortlist, which sees the list reduced to just six titles, will be announced on Tuesday 21 September
"The list is a mixture of seriousness and fun; it ranges across several continents; it goes back and forwards in time - and getting a shortlist of six out of this variety will be a nightmare," said Mr Smith, chair of this year's judges.
Bookmakers William Hill have made David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas the favourite to win at 3/1.
"We have been inundated with people wanting to back this book ever since it was published and I am in no doubt that it will reach the shortlist and probably go on to win the Booker, " said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.
"I have never quoted a book at shorter odds at this stage of the competition," he added.
Joint second favourites are Nicola Barker, Susanna Clarke, Alan Hollinghurst and Nicholas Shakespeare at 10/1.
Nicola Barker won the Irish IMPAC literary award for her novel Wide Open in 2000.
She receives a place on the Booker longlist for her book, Clear: A Transparent Novel.
Shirley Hazzard's The Great Fire made the Orange Prize shortlist earlier this year, which was won by Andrea Levy.
The awards ceremony will be broadcast live on BBC Two and BBC Four on 19 October.
Australian DBC Pierre won the Booker Prize last year for his dark novel, Vernon God Little.
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- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Purple Hibiscus
- Nadeem Aslam - Maps for Lost Lovers
- Nicola Barker - Clear: A Transparent Novel
- John Bemrose - The Island Walkers
- Ronan Bennett - Havoc, In Its Third Year
- Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
- Neil Cross - Always The Sun
- Achmat Dangor - Bitter Fruit
- Louise Dean - Becoming Strangers
- Lewis Desoto - A Blade of Grass
- Sarah Hall - The Electric Michelangelo
- James Hamilton-Paterson - Cooking with Fernet Branca
- Justin Haythe - The Honeymoon
- Shirley Hazzard - The Great Fire
- Alan Hollinghurst - The Line of Beauty
- Gail Jones - Sixty Lights
- David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
- Sam North - The Unnumbered
- Nicholas Shakespeare - Snowleg
- Gerard Woodward - I'll Go To Bed at Noon