The Man Booker Prize 2012 will be awarded to one of the six shortlisted books on October 16 at a dinner in London, and the competition is high.

Every year, a different judging panel decides what books are in the running and the winner.

This years’ judges are; Sir Peter Stothard, the editor of Times Literary Supplement, he is also the Chairman of the panel; Dinah Birch, English Professor in the University of Liverpool and a literary critic; Amanda Foreman, an award winner historian and author; Dan Stevens, the famous actor of the tv series Downton Abbey and an editor; and Bharat Tandon, an author and critic.

Six shortlisted books of the 44th Man Booker Prize were announced, on 11 September. Each shortlisted writer will be awarded  $4000. The winning author/book will be receiving an additional $80.000, and of course, a significant increase in the sales of their book is inevitable.

This year’s common themes are old-age, memories, and loss. Here are the six shortlisted books;

The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng

Swimming Home – Deborah Levy

Bring up the Bodies – Hillary Mantel

The Lighthouse – Alison Moore

Umbrella – Will Self

Narcopolis – Jeet Thayil

2009 Man Booker Prize winner Hillary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies was the least surprising name on the list. Apart from winning it once, Mantel was also long listed with Beyond Black in 2005.

Mantel’s new book is the sequel to the award winning Wolf Hall. However, a British author has never won the prize twice. We will have to wait and see if this changes.

Will Self’s Umbrella may to be chosen to erase the effects of the readability approach of last years judging panel. In 2011, the judging panel admitted that they wanted the listed books to be read, rather than to be admired. Umbrella is very far from this approach, with its very complex structure. This year’s panel calls Will Self “the radical of modern literature” because of his modernized Elliot and Joyce influence.  “Both moving and brainy and we place it on the shortlist with the conviction that those who stick with it will find it much less difficult than it first seems.” Says the panel’s chairman, Stothard. But be aware, this is a 400-page book with no paragraphs or chapter divisions…

Jeet Thayil’s debut novel Narcopolis is also in the shortlist,  The writer, who is also a poet and a musician,  has lived in Hong Kong, India, and the US.  Narcopolis is a story about Mumbai’s opium and heroin addicted days in the 1970’s, garnished by Thayil’s own experiences. Kevin Rushby, The Guardian book critic, says “ I wished that this book, like some long and delicious opium-induced daydream, would go on and on. The end, sadly, does eventually come.” We will soon find out what the judging panel thinks about this…

Malaysian writer, Tan Twan Eng has been on the Man Booker longlist once before. Now with his second book, The Garden of Evening Mists, he is shortlisted. It is the story of a lawyer, Yun Ling Teoh, living in Malaysia in 1949, in the aftermath of WWII.

The award winning writer of short stories, Alison Moore, is one of the most talked about writers, with her debut novel, The Lighthouse. The book came out from a small, independent publisher, Salt Publishing. It is a melancholic and haunting story about a man’s walking journey in Germany.

The final book of the six is Swimming Home, by Deborah Levy. Her first novel in fifteen years proves that the most interesting secrets we keep are the ones we kept from ourselves. It is also published from the same independent publisher as The Lighthouse. Stothard says, “We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose,”.

Which books on the Man Booker shortlist are your favorites? Which one do you think will win? Leave your comments below!