Last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature was something of a rarity in the award’s history in that the winner, Svetlana Alexievich, was favored to win by the British betting site Ladbrokes. Why bettors zeroed in on Alexievich remains a bit of a mystery, given that the Nobel tilts heavily toward fiction and Alexievich’s books are oral histories that combine fiction and non-fiction. In all likelihood, someone got their hands on the prize’s top-secret shortlist and bet big on Alexievich.
If Ladbrokes is to be trusted, the field this year is wide open. But it shouldn’t be trusted, not really, since so far people are betting on the same writers that they always bet on to win the Nobel Prize, most of whom don’t even have a chance. Pasta fetishist Haruki Murakami will not win the Nobel Prize. Bad tweeter Joyce Carol Oates will not win the Nobel Prize. The situation in Syria is so depressing that even the Nobel Committee for Literature, which loves to celebrate its own wokeness, won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, which means that the poet and perennial Nobel bridesmaid Adonis also probably will not win it. Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o might have a shot, but the point is this: Murakami, Oates, Adonis, and Ngugi have led the Ladbrokes field for years not because they are contenders necessarily, but because people bet on them. (…)
Ladbrokes Favorites Who Actually Have a Shot (Maybe)
- Adonis (Syrian poet, essayist, and translator; 6/1 odds)
- Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Kenyan novelist, playwright, short story writer, and essayist; 10/1 odds)
- Jon Fosse (Norwegian novelist and playwright; 20/1 odds)
- Ko Un (South Korean poet; 20/1 odds)
All of these writers are plausible and deserving candidates. Adonis, Ngugi, and Ko have been betting favorites for years, and there’s reason to suspect that Ngugi has made the shortlist at least once before. The Nobel Prize has often gone to writers who have been punished for fighting for civil rights, and all three have been imprisoned, while Adonis and Ngugi have both lived in exile. And the respective styles of these three writers are, to varying degrees, regionally representative.
selectiuni din articol
articolul integral, la sursa: newrepublic.com