Atwood, who won in 2000 for "The Blind Assassin" is one of six finalists for the 50,000-pound ($63,000) prize, whose winner will be announced during a dinner ceremony at London's medieval Guildhall. Also in the running, according to British bookies, are British-Turkish author Elif Shafak for her Istanbul-set story "10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World" and U.S.-British writer Lucy Ellmann for her 1,000-page stream-of-consciousness novel "Ducks, Newburyport."
Other contenders include India-born British writer Salman Rushdie — Booker winner in 1981 for "Midnight's Children" — for "Quichotte," a modern-day retelling of "Don Quixote" and Britain's Bernardine Evaristo for the kaleidoscopic "Girl, Woman, Other." Nigeria's Chigozie Obioma has also been tipped for "An Orchestra of Minorities," a saga of love and exile.
Founded in 1969, the prize is open to English-language authors from around the world. The prize, which often delivers a big boost in sales and profile to the winner, was sponsored for 18 years by investment firm Man Group and known as the Man Booker Prize. This year it reverted to its original name, the Booker Prize, under a new sponsor: the Crankstart Foundation founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Michael Moritz and his wife, writer Harriet Heyman.