Braithwaite, 30, is nominated for her darkly comic sibling story “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” and Burns for “Milkman,” set during Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
The list announced Monday includes two novels inspired by ancient Greek epics: “The Silence of the Girls” by Britain’s Pat Barker and “Circe” by U.S. author Madeline Miller.
Also nominated are two novels of family dramas and traumas: “Ordinary People” by Britain’s Diana Evans and “An American Marriage” by U.S. author Tayari Jones.
Founded in 1996, the 30,000 pound ($39,000) prize is open to female English-language writers from around the world.
The winner will be announced June 5 in London.
Oyinkan Braithwaite graduated in Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University.
After graduation, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo in Lagos and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since.
Her debut novel is a crime thriller set in Lagos, which focuses on two sisters. One of the sisters is in the habit of murdering her boyfriends and leaving the sister to clean the mess.
According to the website of the Women’s Prize, chair of the Judges,Professor Kate Williams, said: “It’s a fantastic shortlist; exciting, vibrant, adventurous. We fell totally in love with these books and the amazing worlds they created. These books are fiction at its best – brilliant, courageous and utterly captivating.”
All the six finalists:
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Milkman by Anna Burns
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Circe by Madeline Miller