Former winner Hilary Mantel and radical contemporary author Will Self have both made the shortlist for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction, it was announced on Tuesday.
The six-person list included authors from Britain, India and Malaysia. The winner, due to be announced at London's Guildhall on October 16, receives £50,000 ($80,000, 62,500 euros).
Mantel, from Britain, was listed for her novel "Bring up the Bodies", a sequel to her 2009 Booker winner "Wolf Hall".
They are the first and second volumes of a trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, king Henry VIII's chief minister.
Five judges whittled down the longlist to six writers, all of whom explored the common themes of old age, memory and loss, according to the panel.
The longlist of 12 titles, selected from a total of 145 books, shunned a string of big-name writers.
"After re-reading an extraordinary longlist of 12, it was the pure power of prose that settled most debates," Peter Stothard, chair of judges, told a London press conference.
"We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose -- and in the visible confidence of the novel's place in forming our words and ideas," he added.
Indian writer Jeet Thayil is recognised for his work "Narcopolis", which explores heroin addiction in Mumbai.
Tan Twan Eng's novel "The Garden of Evening Mists" tells the story of a Malaysian former Supreme Court judge who retires from public service in Kuala Lumpur to return to the Cameron Highlands.
Self, a controversial and high-profile British literary figure, has been nominated for the first time for his experimental modernist work "Umbrella".
The Booker Prize is of the highest-profile awards in English language literature.
It is awarded each year for the best original full-length novel written in the English language by a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe.
British author Julian Barnes won the 2011 prize at the fourth attempt for his novel "The Sense of an Ending".
Contenders must have been published in the past year and originally written in English. The prize all but guarantees an upsurge in book sales and worldwide readership.
This is the 44th year of the prize, which began in 1969.
Tan Twan Eng -- "The Garden of Evening Mists"
Deborah Levy -- "Swimming Home"
Hilary Mantel -- "Bring up the Bodies"
Alison Moore -- "The Lighthouse"
Will Self -- "Umbrella"
Jeet Thayil -- "Narcopolis"