Leading the betting by British bookies for the £50,000 ($83,000 Cdn) prize are British author Jim Crace and Canadian-born New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton (for the rural novel Harvest and the gold-rush saga The Luminaries, respectively).
The pair are also the oldest (Crace is 67) and youngest (London, Ont.-born Catton is 28) contenders among this year's finalists.
Also vying for the high-profile fiction-writing honour is Ruth Ozeki, an American-born Canadian author for her novel A Tale of the Time Being. Ozeki, who is based in Whaletown, B.C., is also a Zen Buddhist priest.
Ruth Ozeki, Eleanor Catton on Man Booker Prize short list
Rounding out the nominees are:
- Irish novelist Colm Toibin for the Bible-inspired The Testament of Mary.
- British-American writer Jhumpa Lahiri for the family saga The Lowland.
- Zimbabwe's NoViolet Bulawayo for the shantytown-set story We Need New Names.
The winner will be announced Tuesday night at a ceremony at the medieval Guildhall in London. Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is slated to be present to award the prize.
Founded in 1969, the award is officially known as the Man Booker Prize after its sponsor, financial services firm Man Group PLC. Considered one of the world's top literary honours for a single written work, the prize celebrates the fiction genre specifically and has until now been open only to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth countries.
- Man Booker Prize opens eligibility to writers worldwide
However, organizers recently announced plans to widen the field and extend the eligibility to all English-language novels published in the U.K., regardless of the author's nationality, beginning with the 2014 edition.