Salena Godden, Jenni Fagan and Tabitha Lasley are among those shortlisted for this year's Gordon Burn Prize, alongside three other writers.
The £5,000 prize, open to both fiction and non-fiction, is now in its ninth year and recognises "dazzlingly bold and forward-thinking books". The winner will be announced at Durham Book Festival on 14th October 2021.
Poet Godden (pictured) is up for her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death (Canongate). Fagan is listed for her novel Luckenbooth (William Heinemann), about the disturbing misfortunes of the residents of an Edinburgh tenement, alongside Lasley's Sea State (HarperCollins).
This year's six-strong shortlist also includes Sam Byers' Come Join Our Disease (Faber), Doireann Ní Ghríofa's A Ghost in the Throat (Tramp Press) and Hanif Abdurraqib's A Little Devil in America (Allen Lane).
Denise Mina, chair of the judges, said: “An unusually high standard this year made it very difficult to narrow down the longlist, but the books here are all extraordinary. It has been a privilege and an unexpected joy to spend so long on this list.”
Fellow judge Irenosen Okojie said she "thoroughly enjoyed the judging process", while Sian Cain added she had been "blown away by the contenders". She said: "We struggled greatly to choose just six from our excellent 12-book longlist. I'd like to recommend that all readers go back to the longlist and pick up all 12, as we admired them all and there are some that only just didn't make the cut. Now for the torturous process of choosing a winner!”
The prize is run in partnership by the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Faber & Faber and Durham Book Festival, a Durham County Council festival.
Last year's winner was Peter Pomerantsev for This is Not Propaganda (Faber), his study on the war against reality.