- The Children's Book (Chatto and Windus) by A.S. Byatt
- Summertime (Harvill Secker) by J.M. Coetzee
- The Quickening Maze (Jonathan Cape) by Adam Foulds
- Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate) by Hilary Mantel
- The Glass Room (Little Brown UK) by Simon Mawer
- The Little Stranger (Virago) by Sarah Waters
About the shortlist, Chair of the Judges, James Naughtie, commented:
The choice will be a difficult one. There is thundering narrative, great inventiveness, poetry and sharp human insight in abundance. These are six writers on the top of their form. They've given us great enjoyment already, and it's a measure of our confidence in their books that all of us are looking forward to reading them yet again before we decide on the prizewinner. What more could we ask?
This is a short list full of veterans. J.M. Coetzee could be the first author to win the Booker Prize three times if he wins this year with Summertime. His previous winners include Disgrace (1999) and Life & Times of Michael K (1983). A.S. Byatt has the opportunity to pick up a second Booker for The Children’s Book. She won the Prize in 1990 with Possession. Hilary Mantel's been on the Booker longlist (Beyond Black, 2005), and Sarah Waters has twice been on the shortlist (Fingersmith, 2002 and The Night Watch, 2006). Both Mantel and Byatt have been judges of the prize in the past.
I’m disappointed William Trevor’s fantastic novel Love and Summer didn’t make the cut, though I’m glad James Lever’s Me Cheeta, the purported autobiography of Cheeta, the chimpanzee who starred in the Tarzan films of the 1930s and 40s, isn’t on the short list. Also missing are the three debut novelists (Samantha Harvey, James Lever, Ed O'Loughlin) included on the long list. To see the rest of the long list, go here. This year’s winner will be announced on October 6th.