Hilary Mantel, JM Coetzee and AS Byatt have been shortlisted
This year's shortlist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction has been announced.
The six nominees include JM Coetzee and AS Byatt, both of whom are past winners of the literary award.
South African Coetzee is hoping to become the first three-time winner with his fictional memoir, Summertime. Byatt is nominated for The Children's Book.
The winning writer will be handed the £50,000 prize during a ceremony at London's Guildhall on 6 October.
Coetzee previously won in 1999 with Disgrace and 1983 with Life & Times of Michael K, while AS Byatt is in the running for her second win after her novel Possession won the prize in 1990.
However, Hilary Mantel is the bookmaker's favourite to win the award for her book Wolf Hall, an historical novel about Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell.
The youngest author on the shortlist is Adam Foulds at 34, whose The Quickening Maze, an account of the madness of the poet John Clare.
Simon Mawer is shortlisted for his eighth novel, The Glass Room, about an architect with an ambitious plan to build a house of glass.
"We're thrilled to be able to announce such a strong shortlist, so enticing that it will certainly give us a headache when we come to select the winner," said chair of the judges James Naughtie.
"The choice will be a difficult one. There is thundering narrative, great inventiveness, poetry and sharp human insight in abundance."
SHORTLIST IN FULL
AS Byatt - The Children's Book
JM Coetzee - Summertime
Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze
Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall
Simon Mawer - The Glass Room
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger
Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer bound edition of their own book.
For the second year running, extracts of each shortlisted novel will be available to download onto mobiles.
Last year's award was won by Aravind Adiga for The White Tiger, which has sold more than half a million copies and been translated into 39 languages.
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.