The Nobel Prize Favourites!

The recent announcement of the short-list of the Man Booker Prize reminded me that the Nobel Prize in Literature for this year has not yet been awarded – time passes by so quickly that I tend to think it was Munro who won 2014’s prize!

Since Munro’s win,I have been trying to guess who would be among the nominees – the Nobel Prize panel has its own private list of nominees but stopped making it public for the last 50 years.At the start of the year,I was rooting for Atwood and Byatt,but hit by an absence of information regarding the potential winners, my interest for the Nobel Prize subdued day by day and instead went to the Man Booker Prize,which contrarily has a long-list and a short-list.But some days ago I (finally!) found an article regarding the favourites for the Nobel Prize,as per Ladbrokes’ odds,which I’ve listed below.

Note: I have linked every name to its Wikipedia page.Just hover on it to access the page.

Haruki Murakami  5/1
Ngugi Wa Thiog’o 6/1
Assia Djebar 10/1
Svetlana Aleksijevitj 12/1
Joyce Carol Oates 12/1
Jon Fosse 12/1
Adunis 16/1
Milan Kundera 16/1
Philip Roth 16/1
Peter Nadas 20/1
Bei Dao 20/1
Mircea Cartarescu 25/1
Ko Un 25/1
Thomas Pynchon 25/1
Umberto Eco 33/1
Nuruddin Farah 33/1
Dacia Maraini 33/1
Margaret Atwood 33/1
Don DeLillo 33/1
Amos Oz 33/1
Antonio Lobo Antunes 33/1
Salman Rushdie 50/1
Cees Nooteboom 50/1
Javier Marias 50/1
Cormac McCarthy 50/1
Bob Dylan 50/1
Peter Handke 50/1
William Trevor 50/1
Les Murray 50/1

As you have noticed,the second favourite behind the well-known Haruki Murakami is none other than Ngugi Wa Thiog’o.The odds for the Kenyan author have escalated rather spectacularly these past days and it won’t be a surprise to see him being awarded the Nobel Prize,especially given the Nobel panel’s propensity to reward lesser known authors and desire to make a stand through their winners.(If you don’t know what I’m talking about,see here.) Although he is unknown to some,I remember that,whilst looking for the greatest living African authors,I repeatedly found his name alongside Wole Soyinka – a Nobel Prize winner.As a little anecdote,Ngugi wrote his novel ‘Devil on the Cross’ on toilet paper during his imprisonment following the performance of his play ‘I Will Marry When I Want’.He is a much revered author who has taught in Yale University as well as New York University.

The names in the list are also consonant with the Nobel panel’s new policy of awarding the prize to seasoned authors who are on the brink of retirement,if not already in: the majority of them are more than 70 years old.

Among these 29 names,I’m sure you recognise some famous authors,such as Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera, Joyce Carol Oates, Umberto Eco, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, and of course, Margaret Atwood.Although I’m quite disappointed not to see A.S Byatt’s name,I’m rooting for Kundera,Atwood and Oates.

What about you?

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8 thoughts on “The Nobel Prize Favourites!”

    1. So do I!
      Atwood certainly deserves it.I think the Nobel Prize will go to either a lesser known author or one who is already in retirement though.

  1. Mind-boggling that people keep throwing their money away betting on Murakami each year. I’m no Nostradamus but I say with great confidence he will never win it. Ignoring the poets, Cees Nooteboom wrote the best novel of any of those on that list. Philip Roth is the most deserving on the basis of his great novels about Jewish identity [rather than the one’s about his penis]. Peter Handke will will it eventually, so maybe this year is his.

    1. Whew! That’s a pretty bold thing to say! 😉
      Nooteboom’s book might be among the best,but to say that it is the best means it is better than The Unbearable Lightness of Being,The Handmaid’s Tale (Booker nominee and other),The Blind Assassin (Booker Winner and other),Midnight’s Children (Booker WInner and Booker’s Booker) and anything written by Roth,Oates and Murakami.
      By the way what book of Nooteboom’s you’re referring to?

      Like Oates and Atwood,Roth will sooner or later win the Nobel.Peter Handke might win this year,but he is an extreme outsider – then again,it is only odds we’re talking about.
      Personally I think the Nobel Prize will go to Ngugi Wa Thiog’o.
      And you’re right,I don’t know why people keep making Murakami their favourite!!

      1. Murakami won’t win it because he is middle-brow and mostly apolitical; he is also, in my opinion, a hack [although that would not necessarily prevent him winning this prize]. I don’t like Atwood, Rushdie or Kundera, I’m afraid, so i do think Nooteboom’s best novel, or even his worst, is superior to any of theirs. The book I was talking about is called Rituals. It is one of my favourite novels. I don’t, however, see Nooteboom winning it anytime soon. Thiong’o is a good shout, that wouldn’t surprise me at all. American literature was called ‘too provincial’ by the nobel judges [or one particular judge], so i wouldn’t bet on Roth winning it one day. Pynchon has got no chance, either.

  2. For my money, I believe Stephen Sondheim should be on the list. His brilliant lyrics are in fact dramatic literature, and he has influenced his genre as no one before or since. He is unquestionably the greatest lyricist of the 20th century. The Nobel is about the only honour he hasn’t received yet.

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