The Royal Society of Literature is holding a public vote to find out which second published novel is Britain's favourite, in recognition that writing a second novel, however successful an author's debut, is "famously difficult" with "pressure always on its successor".
The vote is designed "to raise literary awareness and discussion", according to the RSL, hoping that the competition will encourage people to read more.
The 141 novels available for the public vote were based on earlier public nominations in January. They include authors whether living or dead and from any nation, such as Chinua Achebe, with No Longer at Ease (Penguin Classics); Sarah Waters, with Affinity (Virago); Martin Amis, with Dead Babies (Vintage); Umberto Eco, with Foucault’s Pendulum (Vintage); Margaret Atwood, with Surfacing (Virago); Jane Austen, with Pride and Prejudice (Wordsworth Classics); Dan Brown, with Angels & Demons (Transworld); Patricia Cornwell, with Body of Evidence (Sphere); and Stephenie Meyer, with Twilight: New Moon (Atom), among others.
Voting is open via the RSL's website from today until 31st March 2017, with the winner to be announced on 5th April.
Novels entered for the £10,000 Encore Award for best new second novel of the year, which the Royal Society of Literature took on in August 2016, have been excluded from shortlisting in the public vote.
Previously run independently by prize founder and sponsor Lucy Astor, the winner of the Encore Award will be announced on the same day as the outcome of the public vote, as judged by journalist Alex Clark, poet and children’s author Julia Copus, and Ted Hodgkinson, senior programmer for literature and spoken word at Southbank Centre.