Milan Kundera: Kundera should have won the prize a decade ago. He's exactly the type of writer the Academy seems to love, so it's a mystery to me why they seem to be ignoring him. He's 83 years old, so the Academy needs to get its collective ass in gear. Unfortunately with Transtromer winning last year, it doesn't seem likely that they'll be giving the prize to another European man this year. As Cubs fans say: there's always next year.
Salman Rushdie: Another author who should have won the prize a decade ago. After the strange choice of Dario Fo in 1997 Nobel organizers said Rushdie was "too predictable". Perhaps internal politics have played a role in his snubbing: in 1989 three members (Kerstin Ekman, Werner Aspenstrom, and Lars Gyllensten) left the Swedish Academy after the Academy failed to express support for Rushdie when the Ayatollah issued a fatwa against him. Rushdie at 64 is still fairly young, so I think he will eventually be awarded the prize, but I don't have high hopes that this year is his year.
Haruki Murakami: I love Murakami. He's been something of a frontrunner for the prize the last couple of years. And since it's been 17 years since a Japanese writer (Kenzaburo Oe) won the prize, and 11 years since an Asian writer (Gao Xingjian) won the prize, I give Murakami a pretty good chance this year.
Philip Roth: Roth is another writer who should have won the prize a long time ago. He is perhaps America's premier living author. But since the Academy seems to be reluctant to award the prize to an American, I give him very little chance of winning this year, or ever.
Thomas Pynchon: Probably the only person who can compete with Roth for the title of America's premier living author. Sadly he faces the same problems Roth does in winning the prize. Add to that the fact that he will almost certainly not show up if he did win, and there's little chance he'll win it. But then again, the Academy gave the prize to Sartre even knowing he'd turn it down. And how awesome would it be if Pynchon did show up to accept the prize in person?
Assia Djebar: I've never read her works, but she seems to be a perennial favorite for the prize. Being a North African writer probably helps her cause, since it's been 23 years since someone from the part of the world won the prize (Naguib Mahfouz), while three authors from southern Africa have won the prize during that period. Being a member of the French Academy (one of the institutions which nominates for the Nobel prize) certainly doesn't hurt either. I give her a pretty good chance of winning this year, she may even be the frontrunner.
Adonis: Adonis was the early frontrunner for last year's prize. Being Syrian helps his chances, but being a poet hurts since a poet (Tomas Transtromer) won last year. I don't see him winning it this year, or likely ever. Last year was his chance.
Bob Dylan: I hate to even mention this, but since rumors were wildly flying around late last year about his chances, I guess I have to. I personally think it would be a travesty if Dylan won the prize. I don't have anything against him; he's a great musician, an important musician, but he does not rank in terms of world literature. Fortunately he has almost no chance of winning. Although the Academy does like to surprise us, so Dylan in not completely out of the question.
So those are my thoughts on this year's Nobel Prize in Literature. Feel free to pick apart everything I've said, or add your own choices.
Edited by Myshkin, 11 October 2012 - 12:32 PM.