Six writers have a second shot at literary glory, 40 years after they missed out on Britain's top book prize.

Finalists were announced on Friday for the “lost” Booker Prize, created to correct a quirk that saw books from 1970 excluded from contention for the prestigious award.

The Booker was originally awarded for books published the previous year.

But in 1971, it became a prize for the best novel published that year.

The six are Patrick White's The Vivisector, J.G. Farrell's Troubles, Mary Renault's Fire From Heaven, Nina Bawden's The Birds on the Trees, Shirley Hazzard's The Bay of Noon and Muriel Spark's The Driver's Seat.

Of the finalists, only Hazzard and Bawden are still alive, but all the books are still in print.

Farrell won the Booker in 1973 for The Siege of Krishnapur, while Spark and Bawden have been finalists. The winner will be decided by public vote on the Booker website and announced on May 19.

The Booker Prize was first handed out in 1969, and is open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth.

The Lost Booker is the third special prize to be created by the organisation.

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