"Global in its reach, this exceptional shortlist demonstrates the vitality and range of the contemporary novel at its finest," said Robert Macfarlane, the chair of the judges.

"These six superb works of fiction take us from gold-rush New Zealand to revolutionary Calcutta, from modern-day Japan to the Holy Land of the Gospels, and from Zimbabwe to the deep English countryside. World-spanning in their concerns, and ambitious in their techniques, they remind us of the possibilities and power of the novel as a form."

The shortlisted novels are:

We Need New Names, by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton (Granta)
The Harvest, by Jim Crace (Picador)
The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
The Testament of Mary, by Colm Tóibín (Penguin)

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