Man Booker shortlistee Neel Mukherjee is among the six authors shortlisted for the £10,000 Encore Award for a second novel.
Mukherjee is shortlisted for The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus), which was also on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2014.
The book is set in 1960s Calcutta and follows the Ghosh family, who are so absorbed in their day-to-day rivalries and secrets that they fails to notice when one of its younger members becomes in thrall to extreme political activism.
Also shortlisted are: author and screenwriter Amanda Coe’s tale of an unconventional family reunion, Getting Colder (Virago); Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies (Oneworld), about a young girl who is fascinated by the woods near her house; and Her by Harriet Lane (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), the unsettling story of two women who meet in a North London suburb apparently by chance, yet share a dark connection from the past.
Rounding off the shortlist are Everland by Rebecca Hunt (Fig Tree) and The Way Inn by Will Wiles (Fourth Estate). The former sees three researchers travel to a spot on an unknown island in the Antarctic a century after three men visited the same place and unknowingly echoing history. The latter sees much-travelled executive Neil Double at home in the global chain of The Way Inn mid-budget hotels, until he meets an alluring woman with an explosive secret.
Alex Clark, chair of the judges, said: “We were delighted by the strength of this year’s field, particularly as we celebrate 25 years of the award. We remain convinced of the need to encourage and support novelists in this crucial early part of their writing lives, and this year’s shortlist demonstrates that there is plenty of talent to nurture.”
He added: “These books take us from the Antarctic, past and present, to 1960s Calcutta via faceless hotels, sinister woods, apparently harmless London suburbs and Cornish houses rife with intrigue; the variety of settings is matched by the diversity of prose styles and narrative structures. There are many ways to tell a story, and six of the best are on display here; we look forward with excitement and a little trepidation to selecting a final winner.”
The winner of the prize will be announced on 11th May at a ceremony in central London.