Bookmakers' favourite Julian Barnes and Zadie Smith have been named on the shortlist for this year's Booker Prize.
This is the first time Zadie Smith has made the Booker shortlist
But past winners Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and JM Coetzee - who were all on the longlist - failed to make the cut.
Also shortlisted are Kazuo Ishiguro, Ali Smith, Sebastian Barry and John Banville. The winner will get £50,000.
"This shortlist, we believe, witnesses to the remarkable quality of the current state of fiction," chairman of judges John Sutherland said.
Picking a shortlist was "an unusually difficult process this year", he said.
"There was sufficient quality for two distinguished lists. We were aware that the rules require that the award be to the best novel.
BOOKER PRIZE ODDS
5/4 - Julian Barnes (above), Arthur and George
4/1 - Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
5/1 - Zadie Smith, On Beauty
8/1 - Sebastian Barry, A Long Long Way
10/1 - John Banville, The Sea
12/1 - Ali Smith, The Accidental
Source: William Hill
"The strength of the year's competition can be measured by the fact that three good books by previous winners were finally not selected."
Julian Barnes has been made 5/4 favourite to win by bookmakers. His novel Arthur and George draws upon a real-life campaign for justice by Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Barnes has previously been nominated for Flaubert's Parrot in 1984 and England, England in 1998, but has never won.
Zadie Smith's On Beauty, an homage to EM Forster's Howards End, has received mixed reviews from critics.
Her first two works, White Teeth and The Autograph Man, failed to progress to the shortlist stage.
Japan-born Kazuo Ishiguro is the only previous winner on the shortlist, for Never Let Me Go, about children who face the truth about seemingly happy childhoods in the English countryside.
Kazuo Ishiguro won the Booker for in 1989
He won the Booker for in 1989 for The Remains of the Day, which was turned into a film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.
Novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry is nominated for A Long Long Way, about an Irish soldier fighting in the British Army during World War I.
John Banville, another Irish writer, is in the running for The Sea, about a man who confronts his past in a town where he spent a childhood holiday.
And The Accidental by Ali Smith tells the story of a mysterious girl who turns a family upside down when she arrives on their doorstep.
A William Hill spokesman said: "Barnes is certainly the leading choice of our literary punters, who got it right big-time last year when they steamed into Alan Hollinghurst, the eventual winner."
This year's winner will be announced on 10 October at a ceremony in London, which will be broadcast on BBC Two.