Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 10:54 UK

Hilary Mantel leads Orange Prize shortlist

Clockwise: Hilary Mantel, Attica Locke, Lorrie Moore, Barbara Kingsolver, Monique Roffey and Rosie Allison
Clockwise: Hilary Mantel, Attica Locke, Lorrie Moore, Barbara Kingsolver, Monique Roffey and Rosie Allison will compete for the Orange Prize

Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel is among six authors nominated for the Orange Prize, which celebrates the work of female writers.

Mantel, whose historical epic Wolf Hall bagged the Booker, is joined by first timers Rosie Allison and Attica Locke.

US writers Lorrie Moore and Barbara Kingsolver, and Anglo-Trinidadian Monique Roffey, complete the list.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony held at London's Royal Festival Hall on 9 June.

The successful author will walk away with a cheque for £30,000 and a bronze statue called the "Bessie".

Each of the shortlisted authors will be giving readings from their works at London's Southbank Centre a day before the awards ceremony.

The Very Thought of You - Rosie Alison
The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver
Black Water Rising - Attica Locke
A Gate at the Stairs - Lorrie Moore
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle - Monique Roffey

Extracts from each of the shortlisted books are being made available for free mobile download.

The Orange Prize, which marks its 15th anniversary this year, recognises "excellence, originality and accessibility" in women's writing from the previous year.

Author Daisy Goodwin, chair of judges, said this year's shortlist "achieves the near impossible of combining literary merit with sheer readability".

She added that its diversity offers something to "challenge, amuse and enthral every kind of reader".

Only two of the authors - Mantel and Kingsolver - have previously been nominated for the Orange Prize.

Mantel was also shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Award for Wolf Hall, which is set in the 16th century and recounts the story of Thomas Cromwell's rise to power.

Past winners of the Orange Prize include Andrea Levy, Rose Tremain, Lionel Shriver and Zadie Smith.

Small Island author Levy's new work The Long Song failed to make the shortlist this time.

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