William Boyd, Neil Griffiths, Mark Haddon and David Mitchell are all up for novel of the year at the Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Prize.
A total of 580 books were submitted to the judging panel this year
And the nominees for best debut novel of 2006 are Michael Cox, Marilyn Heward Mills, Stef Penny and James Scudamore.
The awards also recognise biographies, poetry and children's books by writers based in the UK and Ireland.
Last year's overall winner was Matisse the Master by Hilary Spurling, who collected the main prize of £25,000.
The winner of each of the five categories will be announced on 10 January.
And one of those five will then be named as the overall Costa Book of the Year at a ceremony in London on 7 February.
Boyd's book Restless and Saving Caravaggio by Neil Griffiths are included in the best novel category.
Also listed are A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon - whose book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won the overall Whitbread Book of the Year prize two years ago - and Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.
The award for first novels recognises ex-musician Cox, also the author of award-winning Cloud Atlas, for The Meaning of Night and Mills's book Cloth Girl.
The Tenderness of Wolves by Penney and The Amnesia Clinic by former advertising executive Scudamore also make the shortlist.
In the biography award, Maggie Fergusson is one of the four authors listed, for her book about the life of Scottish poet George Mackay Brown.
John Stubbs's work about 17th Century poet John Donne is also included, as well as Nabeel's Song, which is journalist Jo Tatchell's story of one family's experience of life before, during and after the regime of President Saddam Hussein.
Last year Hilary Spurling won with a two-part biography of Matisse
And Brian Thompson's memories of his family, Keeping Mum, complete the biographical nominees.
Vicki Feaver, John Haynes, former Whitbread winner Seamus Heaney and Hugo Williams are shortlisted in the poetry category, respectively for The Book of Blood, Letter to Patience, District and Circle, and Dear Room.
And the children's book award will go to one of David Almond's Clay, The Diamond of Drury Lane by former diplomat Julia Golding, Meg Rosoff's Just in Case and Set in Stone by Linda Newbery.