Hilary Mantel’s new novel will vie against Booker Prize winner Girl, Woman, Other for this year’s Women’s Prize For Fiction.
Mantel concluded her Thomas Cromwell trilogy with The Mirror And The Light, which was published last month.
Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other was the joint winner of the Booker Prize last year.
Chair of the judges, Baroness Lane-Fox, said the six shortlisted books offer the chance to “connect with the outside world” while in lockdown.
“I find that having an ability to connect into a world outside is fundamental to being able to cope with being locked inside,” the Lastminute.com co-founder said.
“Sitting down, shutting a door, taking some time to yourself and reading, I believe, makes you more able to be equipped to deal with the challenges when you finally open that door again.”
Now in its 25th year, the £30,000 prize celebrates writing by women in English from around the world.
Other books on the shortlist are Dominicana, a “vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world,” by US novelist Angie Cruz.
Hear ye, hear ye. Tomorrow, Weds at 10AM @BBCWomensHour. Chatting about dis, dat & two novels from the backlist with Jenni Murray: The Emperor's Babe (2001) set in Roman London 211 AD & Mr Loverman about a black, male, gay septuagenarian. @PenguinUKBooks. https://t.co/UgEzskaMfQ— Bernardine Evaristo (@BernardineEvari) April 14, 2020
A Thousand Ships, in which classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective, is also in the running.
The shortlist is completed by Hamnet, a story of the bond between twins and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief, by Maggie O’Farrell, and Weather, “a dazzling and deadpan” novel about hope and despair, fear and comfort, by US novelist Jenny Offill.
Baroness Lane-Fox said of the shortlist books: “We are all living in challenging, sad and complex times so incredible stories provide hope, a moment of escape and a point of connection now more than ever.”
The 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction awards winner announcement has been rescheduled to take place on September 9.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
The Mirror And The Light by Hilary Mantel
Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
Weather by Jenny Offill