Salman Rushdie faces competition from a former postman and a London waitress.
The Indian-born writer's Shalimar The Clown has been nominated for the 2005 Whitbread Novel Award, it was announced in London Wednesday.
The others shortlisted include Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down, Ali Smith's The Accidental Hamish and Christopher Wilson's The Ballad of Lee Cotton Little.
Rushdie won the Award in 1995 for The Moor's Last Sigh.
The judges commenting on Rushdie's latest book said, "Rushdie's panoramic imagination and great storytelling gifts sweep you away."
"Shalimar The Clown is a story of Max, his killer, and his daughter and of a fourth character, the woman who links them, whose story finally explains them all. It is an epic narrative that moves from California to Kashmir, France and England, and back to California again. Everything is unsettled. Everything is connected. Lives are uprooted, names keep changing nothing is permanent. Spanning the globe and darting through history, Rushdie's narrative captures the heart of the reader and the spirit of a troubled age," the official Whitbread Book Award said on its website.
The Awards recognise books written last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland and were established by Whitbread, the UK's leading hospitality business, in 1971.
The overall winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year will receive £25,000 (about Rs19.64 lakhs) and will be announced at the Whitbread Book Awards ceremony in London on January 24 next year.
Rachel Zadok, a South-African waitress working in London, and one-time postman and van driver Alexander Masters have also been nominated in separate catagories.