A novel about John Lennon's island on the west coast of Ireland is in the running for Britain’s oldest literary award.

Kevin Barry's acclaimed novel Beatlebone has been shortlisted for the £10,000 James Tait Black prize for fiction.

The other nominated titles are the debut novel by screenwriter Miranda July, The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall and You Don’t Have to Live Like This by Benjamin Markovits.

Lennon's island was Dorinish in Clew Bay, County Mayo, which the real?life Lennon bought in 1967 at “the knock?down price of £1,550” – and which he briefly visited with his first wife, Cynthia, and then with Yoko Ono.

In his novel, Barry’s fictional Lennon has returned nine years later in search of solitude and “at last to be over himself”.

Contenders for the £10,000 biography prize include a memoir by acclaimed English playwright, screenwriter and theatre and film director Sir David Hare; a journey through the life of writer and publisher David Garnett – who won the James Tait Black Prize for fiction in 1922; an innovative account, drawn exclusively from his own words, of the life of John Aubrey, the father of modern life writing; and a portrait of the ways in which the events of 1606 shaped Shakespeare’s writing in the tumultuous year of King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

These are The Blue Touch Paper: A Memoir by David Hare, Bloomsbury’s Outsider: A Life of David Garnett by Sarah Knights, John Aubrey: My Own Life by Ruth Scurr and 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by James Shapiro.

Two prizes are awarded annually for books published during the previous year – one for the best work of fiction and the other for the best biography.

Fiction judge, Dr Alex Lawrie, of the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh said: "The 2015 shortlist showcases the wit, energy and innovation that characterised a remarkably strong year for fiction."

The James Tait Black Awards are awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

More than 400 books were read by University of Edinburgh academics and postgraduate students, who nominated books for the shortlist.

The prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her husband’s love of good books.

In 2012, a third prize category was announced for Drama, with the first winner of this award announced in August 2013.

Biography judge, Dr Jonathan Wild said: "Once again our team of postgraduate readers have pointed us towards the cream of biographical writing."

The winners of the prize will be announced on August 15 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Past winners including figures of global literary distinction such as, Angela Carter, Graham Greene, DH Lawrence, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, Muriel Spark and Evelyn Waugh.

Distinguished names appear on the list of biography winners, including Peter Ackroyd, Martin Amis, Quentin Bell, John Buchan, Richard Ellmann, Kathryn Hughes, Hermione Lee, Lytton Strachey and Claire Tomalin.