Mantel is a previous winner of the Booker, taking the prize for fiction in 2009 with Wolf Hall. This year she is shortlisted for Bring Up The Bodies, which is the sequel to Wolf Hall, while Will Self is shortlisted for Umbrella.

Leading writers Michael Frayn for Skios and Nicola Barker for The Yips dropped off after appearing in the longlist announced in July. Heavyweight writers Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan and Martin Amis were notable absences from the list.

This year’s judging panel is chaired by Sir Peter Stothard, editor of The Times Literary Supplement and the panel also includes Dinah Birch, literary critic; Amanda Foreman, historian; Dan Stevens, Downton Abbey actor; and Bharat Tandon, academic.

Stothard said: “After re-reading an extraordinary longlist of twelve, it was the pure power of prose that settled most debates. 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.”

The Booker winner will be unveiled at a ceremony in London’s Guildhall on Tuesday October 16.

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