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Paul Auster among diverse 2017 Man Booker Prize shortlist

A 20-something debut novelist and a septuagenarian man of letters are among the six authors that will battle it out for Britain's prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction.

Paul Auster (Getty Images/AFP/T. Samson)

Paul Auster has made the Man Booker shortlist

US author Paul Auster has been shortlisted – for the first time – for the world's most prestigious English-language literary award for his novel "4321." 

The 70-year-old is joined on the Man Booker shortlist by two other Americans – short story writer George Saunders, for his first full-length novel "Lincoln in the Bardo," and debut writer Emily Fridlund with "History of Wolves." 

Read more: Paul Auster tours Germany with fate-twisting novel '4321'

British author Ali Smith made the shortlist for the fourth time with "Autumn," while British-Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid makes his second appearance with "Exit West." Meanwhile, English writer Fiona Mozley, 29, is the youngest nominee with her first book, "Elmet," a novel that was only published this month.

Read more: Mohsin Hamid: Writers need to create 'optimistic visions' of the future

Author George Saunders, who is best-known for his short stories, is an early favorite to win the illustrious fiction prize with his story of the afterlife, "Lincoln in the Bardo." British bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill have made Saunders the front-runner among the six titles vying for the 50,000-pound (around 55,000-euro) prize.

Saunders's novel is set in a Washington graveyard in 1862, where President Abraham Lincoln visits the body of his 11-year-old son, and is among several innovative works on the shortlist. 

Paul Beatty (Picture-Alliance/AP Photo/A. Grant)

Writer Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2016 for 'The Sellout'

"With six unique and intrepid books that collectively push against the borders of convention, this year's shortlist both acknowledges established authors and introduces new voices to the literary stage," said Baroness Lola Young, who chairs the judging panel.

"Playful, sincere, unsettling, fierce: Here is a group of novels grown from tradition but also radical and contemporary," she added.

The Man Booker winner will be announced on October 17 in London. Previous winners of the prize that was launched in 1969 include Ian McEwan, Iris Murdoch, Hilary Mantel and Salman Rushdie.

US author Paul Beatty won in 2016 was for his novel "The Sellout." 

sb/kbm (AFP, AP)

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