Cynthia Ozick has become the oldest writer to compete for the Orange Prize for Fiction, beating the previous record by almost a decade.
The 83-year-old New Yorker, who has been championed by authors including David Foster Wallace, was yesterday named on the longlist for the women-only literary award for her novel Foreign Bodies.
Author Joanna Trollope, who is chairing the judging panel, said: "I had no idea of her age when I read the book. It could have been written by someone of 25, although it is much more polished than that. The wry wit is ageless."
The previous oldest author named was Shirley Hazzard, who was nominated for The Great Fire in 2004 when she was 73 years old. The youngest author to make this year's list is 28-year-old Anna Stothard, daughter of Times Literary Supplement editor Sir Peter Stothard, for her second novel The Pink Hotel.
Others works to make the longlist include On the Floor by investment banker turned writer Aifric Campbell, the first woman to be appointed managing director of Morgan Stanley's trading floor. The debut novel from Latin and Greek tutor Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles, has made the list as has The Submission, the first work by former New York Times reporter Amy Waldman.