Two Random House Group titles have been shortlisted for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize 2012, which rewards début fiction published in the UK.
Chatto title The Land of Decoration by Grace McLeen and Doubleday's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce joins indie publisher Seren's The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness on the three-strong list.
Novelist Sam Llewellyn, the chair of the judges, said: "It has been extraordinarily hard to choose a shortlist of three from such a powerful and diverse longlist. Desmond Elliott once told me that his ideal novel was a cross between a treasure hunt and a race.
"The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is both these things, and a lot more besides. The Last Hundred Days, written with wit and irony, is a really fine and original addition to the literature of disintegrating empires, and The Land of Decoration is unlike anything you've ever read. It's a rollercoaster of a book that makes the reader laugh and cry at entirely unpredictable intervals."
Alongside Llewellyn on the judging panel is Tom Gatti, deputy editor of the Times Review section, and Caroline Mileham, head of books at Play.com.
The winner will be announced on 28th June at Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, central London. It is the fifth year of the award, which was set up in memory of the celebrated publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott to "enrich the careers of new writers".
William Hill has offered odds on the prize, giving The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry the edge, at 5/4, followed by The Last Hundred Days at 7/4 and The Land of Decoration at 2/1.