Six awarding-winning writers including India's Amitav Ghosh are among a group of 12 poets, authors and academics vying for the 2013 Warwick Prize for Writing with themes ranging from the Australian war effort in France to opium sellers in 19th century India.
The prize, handed out every two years since 2009, was set up as an international, cross-disciplinary award to recognise excellence in the English language in any genre or form.
Organisers said in a statement that this year's longlist of nominees, unveiled on Wednesday, demonstrated the uniqueness of the award.
"We have here books in every genre, from all around the world. The only difficulty now will be choosing a winner from among them," said one of three judges, Ian Sansom, from Britain's University of Warwick which founded the prize.
The fiction nominees include British writer Julian Barnes for "The Sense of an Ending" that won the Man Booker prize two years ago as well as American writers Amy Espeseth for "Sufficient Grace" and award-winning Jonathan Franzen for "Freedom".
Ghosh was nominated for "River of Smoke" along with Australian Booker-prize winner Thomas Keneally for "The Daughters of Mars" and Israeli writer Etgar Keret for "Suddenly, a Knock on the Door".
The non-fiction nominees include Iraqi-born British theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili for "Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science", Canadian Cordelia Fine for "Delusions of Gender", and award-winning British travel writer Robert Macfarlane for "The Old Ways".
The poetry book nominees include award-winning Australian poet Robert Gray for his collection "Cumulus". Gray is well known for his use of haiku style free verse with his poetry.
Palestinian poet Nidaa Khoury also made the list for "Books of Sins" along with British poet Alice Oswald, who won the T.S. Eliot prize in 2002, for "Memorial".
The shortlist will be announced in August and the winner in late September.
The winner will receive 25,000 pounds and a short placement at the university. The prize money was halved from previous years with organisers saying this was so that funds could be directed other literary projects.
Past winners include UK-based science writer Peter Forbes for "Dazzled and Deceived" in 2011 and Canadian journalist and social activist Naomi Klein for "The Shock Doctrine" in 2009.