By Thom Geier
Updated September 08, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT

Alas, Me, Cheeta didn’t make the cut for the shortlist of the U.K’s prestigious Man Booker Prize. (It seems there’s still a bias toward human authors.) But books by previous winners A.S. Byatt and J.M. Coetzee are now considered front-runners for the £50,000 prize, which will be announced Oct. 6. (Coetzee, a nominee for the autobiographical novel Summertime, would be the first author to win the award three times.) Americans interested in the six nominees will mostly have to wait — unless they plan a trip to the U.K. or choose to swallow steep shipping charges from Only one of the nominees is in U.S. bookstores now: Sarah Waters’ novel The Little Stranger, a ghost story set at an English country house in 1947, which was published here in April. Byatt’s The Children’s Book, following two generations of families in the British countryside at the turn of the 20th century, and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, a retelling of the life of Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, are both due in U.S. stores in October, while Summertime is due out on Christmas Eve. So far, though, I can find no U.S. publication date for either of the other nominees: Adam Foulds’ The Quickening Maze, based on the life of real-life 19th century poet John Clare and his descent into madness, and Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room, about a wealthy Jewish car-maker in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s. (Neither book seems to have an American publishing deal yet — though one suspects that will change very soon.)