Gaynor Arnold works for Birmingham's Adoption and Fostering Service
A first-time novelist is among the longlisted candidates for this year's Orange Prize for Fiction.
Social worker Gaynor Arnold, 63, was nominated for Girl In A Blue Dress, which is a fictional account of the life of Charles Dickens' wife.
She is joined on the list by Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison, whose ninth novel, A Mercy, was also nominated.
The prize awards female writers. A shortlist will be announced in April.
'Quality and simple'
The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 3 June, where the prize of £30,000 will be presented.
Broadcaster Fi Glover, who chairs the panel of judges, said: "All the books on the longlist are there because each one, in its own way, is terrific in its ambition, quality and simple ability to entertain.
"We had a fabulous, if difficult, time narrowing the list down to 20 novels - and it's a wide open field."
This year's longlist includes a record nine authors from the US, six debut novels and, for the first time, a work by a Malaysian writer.
Last year author Rose Tremain was named the winner for her tenth novel, The Road Home.
The longlist in full:
- The Household Guide to Dying - Debra Adelaide
- Girl in a Blue Dress - Gaynor Arnold
- Their Finest Hour and a Half - Lissa Evans
- Blonde Roots - Bernadine Evaristo
- Scottsboro - Ellen Feldman
- Strange Music - Laura Fish
- Love Marriage - V V Ganeshananthan
- Intuition - Allegra Goodman
- The Wilderness - Samantha Harvey
- The Invention of Everything Else - Samantha Hunt
- The Lost Dog - Michelle de Kretser
- Molly Fox's Birthday - Deirdre Madden
- A Mercy - Toni Morrison
- The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight - Gina Ochsner
- Home - Marilynne Robinson
- Evening is The Whole Day - Preeta Samarasan
- Burnt Shadows - Kamila Shamsie
- American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld
- The Flying Troutmans - Miriam Toews
- The Personal History of Rachel DuPree - Ann Weisgarber