Nobel Literature Prize

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards - ShowThe Nobel laureates are being announced and there is plenty of news surrounding the upcoming Nobel Prize for Literature. Who will it be?

The Daily Beast has provided a rather exhaustive list of candidates and to emphasize the artistic credentials of these esteemed writers, have even included the odds for winning the prize as posted by the bookies. Hey, if you might win a prize for writing a book, wouldn’t it be natural for a bookie to be involved in the decision?

I am just going to note the top few candidates but first I want to point out the Bob Dylan (né Zimmermann) is prominent on the list … the odds are 50 to 1. Here are the top contenders (with their odds of being selected):

      • Haruki Murakami, odds: 5/2, Japanese, 64.
      • Alice Munro, odds: 4/1, Canadian, 82.
      • Svetlana Alexievich, odds: 6/1, Belarusian, 65.
      • Joyce Carol Oates, odds: 8/1, American, 75.
      • Péter Nádas, odds: 8/1, Hungarian, 70.
      • Jon Fosse, odds: 9/1, Norwegian, 54.
      • Ko Un, odds: 10/1, South Korean, 80.
      • Thomas Pynchon, odds: 12/1, American, 76.
      • Assia Djebar, odds: 12/1, Algerian, 77.

You can read the full list and a discussion of the top choices at The Daily Beast. My choice? … Péter Nádas (but only because Rob Zombie wasn’t on the list).

There is a related photo essay in The Daily Beast which presents several of the most influential and dare we say some of the greatest writers who were passed over for the honor of being a Nobel Laureate in the field of Literature. I didn’t realize it myself but the Nobel prize is only presented to living authors. As a result, many of the great names in literature were shut-out simply because they died before the committee could get around to nominating them.

Here are some of the names of writers who were never honored by the Nobel committee:

      • R-GJorge Luis Borges
      • Chinua Achebe
      • Roberto Bolaño
      • Kōbō Abe
      • Edith Wharton
      • Paul Valéry
      • Leo Tolstoy
      • Karel Čapek
      • John Updike
      • Vladimir Nabokov
      • James Joyce
      • Virginia Woolf
      • Lu Xun
      • R.K. Narayan
      • Carlos Fuentes
      • Willa Cather

I look at that list and think of the many authors I would add to it and it makes me wonder how valuable the Nobel Prize for Literature actually is?

One response

  1. It’s pretty sad when the list of non-honorees is more distinguished than the list of honorees. With Borges, I heard that there was one influential member of the Academy who essentially said, “Over my dead body!” because the Argentinean accepted an honor from Pinochet.


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