Hilary Mantel, by now almost certain to adorn any 2012/13 awards list, receives a well-deserved but predictable place for Bring up the Bodies, the second in her three part work on the life of Thomas Cromwell. Winning would mean adding to her host of existing awards, including the Booker and the 2012 Costa Novel of the Year.
Two previous winners will be her stiffest competition, with 2010 winner Barbara Kingsolver‘s Flight Behaviour and 2006 winner Zadie Smith‘s NW both jostling with Mantel for position as bookie’s favourite.
Kate Atkinson‘s highly-praised Life After Life, her eighth novel, is also shortlisted, as is AM Holmes‘ sixth, May We Be Forgiven. Maria Semple, meanwhile, is the closest thing the list has to a newcomer, receiving a nomination for her second novel, the brilliant Where’d You Go Bernadette.
Sheila Heti‘s much-hyped How Should a Person Be, Gillian Flynn‘s best-selling Gone Girl and Ros Barber‘s The Marlowe Papers all failed to make the cut, to the surprise of some.
The winner will be announced on the 5th June. Keep an eye out for our upcoming features on the nominees and the prize itself.