The six names were announced by chair of judges, Michael Wood, at a press conference.
‘The Year of the Runaways’ by Derbyshire-born Sahota deals in his book about 13 young men, living in a house in Sheffield in the UK, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life.
Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day, the novel is a story of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstances.
34-year-old Sahota, was born in 1981 in Derbyshire. His debut novel, ‘Ours are the Streets’, was called ‘nothing short of extraordinary’. He currently lives in Sheffield.
The judges remarked on the variety of writing styles, cultural heritage and literary backgrounds of the writers on the shortlist, which includes new authors alongside established names.
Two authors come from the UK, two from the US and one each from Jamaica and Nigeria.
This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK.
Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK and the Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.
Besides Sahota, the other nominees are Marlon James (Jamaica) for A Brief History of Seven Killings, Tom McCarthy (UK) for Satin Island, Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) for The Fishermen, Anne Tyler (US) for Spool of Blue Thread, and Hanya Yanagihara (US) for A Little Life.