Sarah Waters, Colm Tobin, JM Coetzee and AS Byatt have been longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.
This year's "exceptional" list of 13 titles is dominated by established writers, including two former winners, and four past-shortlisted authors.
Coetzee, nominated for Summertime, won the prize in 1983 and 1999, while Byatt triumphed in 1990 with Possession.
James Naughtie, chair of the judges, said: "We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory."
The broadcaster added that the "span of styles and themes" made it an "outstandingly rich fictional mix".
BOOKER LONGLIST 2009
AS Byatt - The Children's Book
JM Coetzee - Summertime
Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze
Sarah Hall - How to paint a dead man
Samantha Harvey - The Wilderness
James Lever - Me Cheeta
Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall
Simon Mawer - The Glass Room
Ed O'Loughlin - Not Untrue & Not Unkind
James Scudamore - Heliopolis
Colm Toibin - Brooklyn
William Trevor - Love and Summer
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger
It also features three first-time novelists, including James Lever.
His debut novel, Me Cheeta - the purported autobiography of the chimpanzee Cheeta, who gained 1930s Hollywood stardom in Tarzan movies - is on the list.
The winner of the £50,000 award, which honours the best fiction written in English by an author from the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth, will be named in October. A shortlist of six will be revealed on 8 September.
Naughtie said: "We considered more than 130 novels and found ourselves travelling in a fertile landscape.
"We kept discovering new talent as well as reacquainting ourselves with familiar writers, and emerged with a feeling that we were part of an exceptional year.
"Our fiction is in the hands of original and dedicated writers with fresh and appealing voices.
"This is an eclectic list, taking us from the court of Henry VIII to the Hollywood jungle, with stops along the way in a 19th century Essex asylum, an African warzone and a futuristic Brazilian city among other places.
"These are books that readers will want to get their hands on."
Naughtie is joined on the judging panel by biographer and critic Lucasta Miller; Michael Prodger, Literary Editor of The Sunday Telegraph; Professor John Mullan, academic, journalist and broadcaster and Sue Perkins, comedian, journalist and broadcaster.
Aravind Adiga won the Man Booker Prize 2008 for his debut novel The White Tiger.