Hilary Mantel has missed out on the shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize, with all six nominated books written by authors based outside the UK.
Mantel had been tipped for a record third win for The Mirror and the Light.
Both previous titles in her trilogy about the life of Thomas Crowell, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, had won.
This year’s nominees are Diane Cook, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Avni Doshi, Maaza Mengiste, Douglas Stuart and Brandon Taylor. Four are debut novelists.
The Booker Prize is the UK’s most prestigious literary award, and the 2020 shortlist was announced at a virtual press conference in London.
The contest is open to any novel written in English by an author of any nationality, and published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020.
The topics covered by the six nominees are wide-ranging, including stories about climate change, the hardship of life in Zimbabwe, dementia, and the women soldiers of 1935 Ethiopia.
“The shortlist of six came together unexpectedly, voices and characters resonating with us all even when very different,” said Margaret Busby, chair of this year’s judges. “We are delighted to help disseminate these chronicles of creative humanity to a global audience.”
Last year saw Margaret Atwood and Bernadine Evaristo share the £50,000 prize, breaking the Booker’s own 1992 rule of awarding it to only one author.
This year’s winner will be announced on 17 November.