Jim Naughtie, Chair of the 2009 judging panel, commented, "We're thrilled to be able to announce such a strong shortlist, so enticing that it will certainly give us a headache when we come to select the winner. The choice will be a difficult one. There is thundering narrative, great inventiveness, poetry and sharp human insight in abundance."
"These are six writers on the top of their form. They've given us great enjoyment already, and it's a measure of our confidence in their books that all of us are looking forward to reading them yet again before we decide on the prizewinner. What more could we ask?," Naughtied added.
Byatt, 73, who won the prize in 1990 for her novel Possession, makes the 2009 shortlist with The Children's Book, the tale of a famous writer who pens a separate, private book for each of her children, complete with family mysteries.
Coetzee, who will become the only writer to take the prize three times if he is named winner on October 6, tells the story of a young biographer who is working on a book about the late writer John Coetzee. As he interviews friends and relatives, a complex picture emerges of Coetzee's past and character.
The work completes a trilogy of fictionalised memoirs for Coetzee, 69, who has previously produced Boyhood and Youth.
Coetzee, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003, first won the Booker prize in 1983 for Life & Times of Michael K and repeated the feat in 1999 with Disgrace.