Women outnumber men for the first time in an influential list of the best young British novelists compiled by Granta, the literary quarterly.
The accolade, conferred once each decade on 20 writers under 40, has gained a reputation as a leading indicator of emerging talent since it was conceived 30 years ago. The first line-up in 1983 hailed Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie; those celebrated since have included Alan Hollinghurst, Will Self, Jeanette Winterson, Zadie Smith and David Mitchell.
Ms Smith is one of two writers from 2003 who also make an appearance this time; the other is Adam Thirlwell.
John Freeman, Granta editor, said that the judges had been surprised by the international flavour of the selection that emerged, which includes six writers born overseas: Kamila Shamsie (Pakistan), Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh), Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia), David Szalay (Canada), Benjamin Markovits (the US) and Xiaolu Guo (China).
The youngest choices this year are Ned Beauman and Helen Oyeyemi, born in 1985 and 1984 respectively. Completing the list are Naomi Alderman, Jenni Fagan, Adam Foulds, Sarah Hall, Steven Hall, Joanna Kavenna, Ross Raisin, Sunjeev Sahota, Taiye Selasi and Evie Wyld.