One of the UK's most prestigious literary awards - the Orange Prize - has announced their shortlist for the 2012 awards.

The prizes, established in 1996, celebrate the best fiction written by women from across the world. The annual awards are made to a female author, of any nationality, for the best original full-length novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. The winner is presented a prize of £30,000 and a limited edition bronze statue known as "the Bessie", created by artist Grizel Niven.

Among the nominations for 2012, is former winner Ann Patchett.

The nominatinees are:

  • Candian author Esi Edugyan, for "Half Blood Blues" published by Serpent's Tail. This is her second novel.
  • Irish writer Anne Enright, for "The Forgotten" published by Waltz Jonathan Cape. This is her fifth novel.
  • Georgina Harding, for "Painter of Silence" published by Bloomsbury. This is her third novel.
  • Madeline Miller, for "The Song of Achilles" published by Bloomsbury. This is her first novel.
  • Cynthia Ozick, for "Foreign Bodies" published by Atlantic Books. This is her seventh novel.
  • Ann Patchett, for "State of Wonder" published by Bloomsbury. This is her sixth novel.

According to the official Web site, the judges for the 2012 awards wil be Joanna Trollope (Chair, Writer), Lisa Appignanesi (Writer, Novelist and Broadcaster),Victoria Derbyshire (Journalist and Broadcaster),Natalie Haynes (Writer and Broadcaster) and Natasha Kolinsky (Broadcaster).

"This is a shortlist of remarkable quality and variety. It includes six distinctive voices and subjects, four nationalities and an age range of close on half a century. It is a privilege to present it. My only regret is that the rules of the prize don't permit a longer shortlist. However, I am confident that the fourteen novels we had to leave out will make their own well-deserved way," commented Trollope.

"It's an absorbing shortlist and just what literary prizes, and in particular the Orange Prize, are all about: nudging readers towards something unfamiliar but very special. These are all authors with the potential to delight many more readers than they currently have, even Anne Enright with her Man Booker win in 2007 . . . I'm tipping Georgina Harding, with a side-bet on dark horse debutante Madeline Miller," Foyles web editor Jonathan Ruppin told the Bookseller.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall at London's Southbank Centre on 30 May.