- The Children's Book by A S Byatt
- Summertime by J M Coetzee
- The Quickening Maze by Adam Fould
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
- The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Comments from the Chair of the 2009 judging panel:
We're thrilled to be able to announce such a strong shortlist, so enticing that it will certainly give us a headache when we come to select the winner. The choice will be a difficult one. There is thundering narrative, great inventiveness, poetry and sharp human insight in abundance.
These are six writers on the top of their form. They've given us great enjoyment already, and it's a measure of our confidence in their books that all of us are looking forward to reading them yet again before we decide on the prizewinner. What more could we ask?