Former winner Alan Hollinghurst, who won the Booker in 2004 with The Line of Beauty, was among those who missed the cut, despite having been considered the second-favourite.
Julian Barnes remains the favourite to win Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for literature after his "The Sense of an Ending" was nominated on the shortlist announced Tuesday.
Debut novelists Stephen Kelman and A. D. Miller are also among the six finalists, made up of four Britons and two Canadians. They were chosen from a longlist of 13.
Barnes, 65, has been shortlisted three times before for "Flaubert's Parrot" (1984), "England, England" (1998) and "Arthur and George" (2005).
The three other Britons on the shortlist are Kelman, for "Pigeon English", Miller, for "Snowdrops", and Carol Birch, for her novel "Jamrach's Menagerie".
The two Canadian nominees are Patrick deWitt, for "The Sisters Brothers", and Esi Edugyan, shortlisted for "Half Blood Blues".
One of the highest-profile awards in English language literature, the £50,000 ($80,700, 56,700 euros) annual Booker Prize is awarded for the best work of fiction by an author from the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.
Contenders must have been published in the past year and originally written in English. The prize all but guarantees an upsurge in book sales and worldwide readership.
Stella Rimington, the former director-general of Britain's MI5 domestic security agency and an author herself, is chairing the panel of five judges.
"Inevitably it was hard to whittle down the longlist to six titles," she said.
"We were sorry to lose some great books. But when push came to shove, we quickly agreed that these six very different titles were the best."
Last year's prize was won by Howard Jacobson for "The Finkler Question", which has sold more than 250,000 copies in Britain.
The winner will be announced on October 18 at a dinner at London's Guildhall.
Betting chains have Barnes as their favourite, followed by Birch and Miller, with the Canadians the outsiders.
"Literary punters believe this is the year the Booker judges will finally reward Julian Barnes," said Graham Sharpe, spokesman for betting firm William Hill.
Shortlist for the 2011 Booker Prize:
-- The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
-- Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
-- The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
-- Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
-- Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
-- Snowdrops by A. D. Miller