Six twentieth-century authors have been shortlisted for the Best of the Best of the James Tait Black Prize, with four men and two women on the shortlist.
Angela Carter, Graham Greene, James Kelman, Cormac McCarthy, Muriel Spark and Caryl Phillips are all in the running for the award, which seeks to single out the best ever winner of the prize which rewards works of fiction or biography.
The six books competing for the prize are: Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter; The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene; A Disaffection by James Kelman; The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Crossing the River by Caryl Phillips and The Mandlebaum Gate by Muriel Spark.
The special award has been created to mark the 250th anniversary of English literature study at the University of Edinburgh, with the shortlist was selected by academics and students of literature at the university. The winner will be chosen by a judging panel including broadcaster Kirsty Wark.
The overall winner will be announced in December. The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, making them Britain's oldest book award.