The six novels in contention for the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction were announced in London last week, and the shortlist produced some surprise inclusions with American connections. One of the two favorites is Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, published in the U.K. by Picador and in the U.S. by Bloomsbury, a political satire featuring Margaret Thatcher among its cast of characters. A second favorite is David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, which comprises six stories linked through 200 years of history. Sceptre publishes Mitchell in the U.K., and Random House snapped him up in the U.S. Random publicist David Ebershoff has arranged a five-city U.S. tour for the Booker favorite, starting in Boston on September 29.

Other nominees are The Master by Irish writer Colm Tóibín, published in the U.K by Picador and by Scribner in the U.S. British poet Gerard Woodward's second novel, I'll Go to Bed at Noon (Chatto and Windus), was an unexpected addition to the shortlist. The only female writer on the shortlist is Sarah Hall for The Electric Michelangelo (Faber). South African writer Achmat Dangor was nominated for Bitter Fruit, published by Atlantic Books in the U.K. and Grove/Atlantic in the U.S.