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Myshkin

Nobel Literature Prize Speculation 2018 Cancelled

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Well, the 2015 Nobel is almost upon us.

 

As always it is hard to predict who will win, it is sure won't be someone writing in French (because of the last years winner) and probably not in English as well.

Going on a hunch I think this year might go to either an author writing in Spanish or Portuguese, meaning primarily someone from Latin America, or some branch of literature relatively neglected by the Academy, meaning poetry, dramaturgy, perhaps even non-fiction, or all of the above. The last years choice was pretty unsual comapred to what we've been used to during Engdahl era certainly, Englund era as well. In the past four years the Academy has gotten three new members and this year a new permanent secreatary, Sara Danius (who joined the Academy in 2013) so I expect a bit of shift. Won't be surprised if American writer will win soon, but not this year.

 

The top of the ladbrokes list so far looks like this:

 

Alexievich  5/1
Murakami 6/1
Ngugi 7/1

Roth 8/1

Oates 12/1
Adonis 16/1
Kadare 16/1
Jon Fosse 20/1
Ko Un 20/1
Handke 20/1

 

Other curiosities on the list are: Ursula Le Guin with 25/1 which I think is nuts. Bob Dylan, late E.L. Doctorow and Neil Gaiman with 50/1. Hillary Mantell also appears with the same odds and I think it might be the first time she's on the ladbrokes list. E.L. James closes the list with the 200/1 odds. Argentine author Cesar Aira's odds jumped today from 50/1 to 25/1, but I am feeling  pretty safe to say that he will not win.

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Ursula Le Guin with 25/1 which I think is nuts. 

Nuts as in 'nuts as no chance given the committee's known prejudices against science fiction/fantasy' or 'nuts as wouldn't deserve it'? Because I think she'd be a very worthy winner (I mean I like Murakami, but Le Guin has been a much more important writer in the scheme of things).

Edited by Gasp of Many Reeds

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Well, the 2015 Nobel is almost upon us.
 
As always it is hard to predict who will win, it is sure won't be someone writing in French (because of the last years winner)

Unless it's Milan Kundera. I still hold out hope.

Going on a hunch I think this year might go to either an author writing in Spanish or Portuguese, meaning primarily someone from Latin America,

I think the biggest names writing in those languages right now are European. Javier Marias and Enrique Vila-Matas in Spanish, and Antonio Lobo Antunes in Portuguese (or Mia Couto from Mozambique).

 

The top of the ladbrokes list so far looks like this:
 
Alexievich  5/1

It amazes me that Ladbrokes continues to give Alexievich such good odds since a Swedish reporter admitted to manipulating her odds by placing a large bet on her two years ago in an attempt to see how much Ladrbokes' system relied on betting. Turns out quite a bit, since Alexievich went from not being listed at all to being one of the front runners based on a single large bet. But that now brings up a new, and very interesting question: how much is the Swedish Academy swayed by public speculation? This will be the third year in a row that Alexievich has been discussed as a front runner, will that have any impact on the voting? Unless she wins we won't know the answer to that for 50 years.

My own predictions:

This is the year I finally give up on Ngugi. I've been calling it for him for two years now, and the Academy keeps making me look like a fool. So this year I'm going with Ko Un, Assia Djebar, or Javier Marias.

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Looking around at the other major literary awards I ran into the sad news that the Booker International has given up on competing with the Nobel. They've reconfigured the prize to be awarded annually to a novel in English translation, making it a kind of complementary prize to the regular Booker, rather than being awarded to a writer for their body of work. Edited by Myshkin

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I think the biggest names writing in those languages right now are European. Javier Marias and Enrique Vila-Matas in Spanish, and Antonio Lobo Antunes in Portuguese (or Mia Couto from Mozambique).

 

True. On the other hand I doubt if biggest names wrting in French  were discussed, that Modiano would've come up in the top, so I think there is a reasonable room for smaller names. It is just as likely the precisely because of who won last year, they would go with someone relatively more known though.

 

 

  It amazes me that Ladbrokes continues to give Alexievich such good odds since a Swedish reporter admitted to manipulating her odds by placing a large bet on her two years ago in an attempt to see how much Ladrbokes' system relied on betting. Turns out quite a bit, since Alexievich went from not being listed at all to being one of the front runners based on a single large bet. But that now brings up a new, and very interesting question: how much is the Swedish Academy swayed by public speculation? This will be the third year in a row that Alexievich has been discussed as a front runner, will that have any impact on the voting? Unless she wins we won't know the answer to that for 50 years.

 

Jon Fosse is the same case I think, I recall reading that his friend put  a bet as a tease or something of that sort two years ago. And keping them on top makes sense to me, I think Ladbrokes won god money on Alexievich and Moorakami in past years and will probably collect this yeas as well. It is in their interest for players to bet wrong after all.

 

Don't think the media has much if any influence over the Academy. They seemed unpertubed by the artciles on Murakami as the front-runner for what seems like five years now. Not to mention the issue of Americans in general and Roth in particular coming up every single year since that Engdahl interview.

 

 

 

This is the year I finally give up on Ngugi. I've been calling it for him for two years now, and the Academy keeps making me look like a fool. So this year I'm going with Ko Un, Assia Djebar, or Javier Marias.

 Assia Djebar unfortunately passed away this February.

 

Ngugi does looks suspicious, past two years his odds would soar early on end stay at top till the end. I mean I get why people Africa might get it, last year especialy, but I don't get why it translated to his odds only.

 

 

Looking around at the other major literary awards I ran into the sad news that the Booker International has given up on competing with the Nobel. They've reconfigured the prize to be awarded annually to a novel in English translation, making it a kind of complementary prize to the regular Booker, rather than being awarded to a writer for their body of work.

 

Far whatever reason they merged Booker International with IFFP so now the prize is basically is IFFP with Booker name on it. It's a shame because their selection so far was excellent.

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Don't think the media has much if any influence over the Academy. They seemed unpertubed by the artciles on Murakami as the front-runner for what seems like five years now. Not to mention the issue of Americans in general and Roth in particular coming up every single year since that Engdahl interview.


True. I doubt it would make much of a difference at the highest levels of discussion, but d be interested to see how much more often, if at all, she's been nominated since Ladbrokes first declared her a front runner.
 

 Assia Djebar unfortunately passed away this February.


Damn. RIP.
 

Far whatever reason they merged Booker International with IFFP so now the prize is basically is IFFP with Booker name on it. It's a shame because their selection so far was excellent.


It is a shame. I liked the idea of them competing directly with the Nobel.

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If Adonis can't win this year...I don't know that he ever will.

 

I gave up on Roth several years ago. Not that I think he doesn't deserve it, but it's clear they have a beef with the American publishing industry and American tastes and until membership changes radically, I just don't see it. I think Atwood would be an inspired choice, but I wouldn't expect it.

 

Yeah...going with Ko Un.

 

I now get a yearly laugh at the Ladbrokes "sucker bets" - Dylan, Gaiman, Mantell.

 

Question...maybe I have the rules wrong, but aren't Doctorow and Djebar inelligible, having passed away? Is Ladbrokes actually taking bets on them?

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Question...maybe I have the rules wrong, but aren't Doctorow and Djebar inelligible, having passed away? Is Ladbrokes actually taking bets on them?

 

They are indeed ineligible. Djebar is actually not on the betting list, but Doctorow is still on it. Why? I have no idea, presumably someone forgot to update or missed the news.

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I think Atwood would be an inspired choice, but I wouldn't expect it.

Since Munro won in 2013 Atwood's shot at a Nobel is pretty slim. Which is a real shame, since I think Atwood is easily one of the most deserving writers alive today.

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I know this is unpopular, but I just don't rate Roth. YMMV, etc etc.


Roth has plenty of detractors, but I still like him. To each their own. But as far as the snubbed Americans go I'd rate Roth below Pynchon, and maybe DeLillo as well. Edited by Myshkin

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Since Munro won in 2013 Atwood's shot at a Nobel is pretty slim. Which is a real shame, since I think Atwood is easily one of the most deserving writers alive today.

 

Same - and yes, I think her odds are almost non-existent. I also think that, regardless of what she wants to call her writing, the "genre" label makes her even more unlikely.

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Roth has plenty of detractors, but I still like him. To each their own. But as far as the snubbed Americans go I'd rate Roth below Pynchon, and maybe DeLillo as well.

 

I've found Roth at his best is incredible, but some of his work is hit and miss for me. I'd agree about Pynchon and DeLillo. Personally speaking, I think Cormac McCarrthy and Richard Ford are better than Roth as well...but Roth/Pynchon/DeLillo/Joyce Carol Oates are all much more popular worldwide than either of those...so I'd never mention them as serious candidates for the Nobel.

 

I've sometimes wondered if the Nobel folks might do an end around and award the Nobel to a playwright or screenwriter so they can simultaneously thumb their nose at the American publishing industry, and yet say: "Fine...here is your American! And look how progressive we're becoming!"  It'll never happen...but the ink spilled over it would be hilarious.

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I think Cormac McCarrthy and Richard Ford are better than Roth as well...but Roth/Pynchon/DeLillo/Joyce Carol Oates are all much more popular worldwide than either of those...

 

I don't think Cormac McCarthy is less popular worldwide than De Lillo or Joyce Carol Oates, or even Pynchon for that matter, as he might be broadly talked about, but not necessarily read. But that's just me.

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I've sometimes wondered if the Nobel folks might do an end around and award the Nobel to a playwright or screenwriter so they can simultaneously thumb their nose at the American publishing industry, and yet say: "Fine...here is your American! And look how progressive we're becoming!"  It'll never happen...but the ink spilled over it would be hilarious.

I think it's more likely that they'd give it to a writer who represents a minority culture within the U.S. That way they can give it to an American while continuing to eschew "mainstream" American culture and literary tradition. Someone like Louise Erdrich would fit that criteria. That's not to say that Erdrich isn't a worthy pick in her own right.

I don't think Cormac McCarthy is less popular worldwide than De Lillo or Joyce Carol Oates, or even Pynchon for that matter, as he might be broadly talked about, but not necessarily read. But that's just me.

I think it's more that Pynchon/Roth/DeLillo/Oates have occupied that top tier literary stardom for longer than McCarthy. Edited by Myshkin

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Pynchon is by far the biggest name in US, in terms of critical acclaim and influence. Roth  I've never actually  got to reading, but I think that the late E.L. Doctorow would be a good choice, there is an interesting blend of American and Russian literary traditions in his work, particularly The march where it is most obvious. He deserved the nod I think.

Oates doesn't strike me as a serious candidate.

 

On a different note, apparently the new permanent secretary Sara Danius has been writing for years in Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

On quick glance found couple of articles that my indicate her literary tastes and worldview outlook.

 

On Umberto Eco:

http://www.dn.se/dnbok/bokrecensioner/om-fulhet

 

On provincialism of Swedish humanities:

http://www.dn.se/arkiv/kultur/bekampamossigheten

 

Probably more interesting stuff can be found, especially if someone knows Swedish.

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So a few days ago Salman Rushdie published his first novel since 2008 (not counting the children's book Luka and the Fire of Life). It's too late for it to affect his chances at this year's Nobel, but maybe (hopefully) it will give him a boost next year.

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The 2016 Nobel is nearby,  a bit more than a month away. Also a good chunk of last year discussion seems to be missing.

No odds on Ladbrokes this year, so I'll just rumble a bit and put a few shots in the dark. Since last year Svetlana Alexievich, one of the odds favorites the last couple of years, won the prize it's natural to wonder if this year some other odds heavyweight (excluding Murakami) is for real. I mean Ngugi and Adunis first, Jon Fosse and Ko Un second. All of them are plausible for various reasons, but my gut is doubtful. Very  doubtful. Kundera, Pynchon, Rushdie I also don't believe in,  Academy had a lot of opportunity to reward any of them in the past, i don't see what changed this year compared to the several preceding ones. Clearly for whatever reasons they don't want to reward them. It's a pretty safe bet it won't be someone writing in French or Russian this year as those were the languages of the past two winners. Up until 2014 there seemed to be a pattern of them choosing an author from a different continent each year. Now that this one is obviously dead in the water, I can find some more patterns, probably equally false, but at least something to go by.

First, Transtromer and Mo Yan, Munro and Modiano, Alexievich and ? . The first one in each of this pair is an author often talked about as a potential winner and spent a bit of time in the upper tier at various betting lists. The second one is relatively lesser known author that seemed to pop out of nowhere in the odds. The second one I see is that the last two authors seemingly both have an entire body of work devoted to the exploration of past and memory. So a relatively unknown author who primarily deals with past and memory. That's not really narrowing it down much, but is the best bet i have this far. Who I want to win and fits the criteria? Claudio Magris -  his relatively unknown in a sense that rarely appears in potential laureate discussions, his works focus largely on the history of Habsburg Empire and it effects on the history and culture of Central Europe. He is a superb essayist and his novels are also extremely good, in particular Danubio is a masterpiece.

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Gotta say I have no feeling at all for where the Academy might go this year. I kinda feel that Ngugi's time has passed, same for Adunis. I also have no faith that they'll finally (or ever) recognize Kundera or Pynchon, and I think it'll be years yet before they're ready to give it to Rushdie. Ko Un is a possibility, as is his countryman Hwang Sok-yong. Though the Academy may feel they already fulfilled their East Asia quota with Mo Yan in 2012. Maybe they're feeling safe enough to go back to Western Europe this year, so I'll put my money on Javier Marias or Antonio Lobo Antunes. Though it's just as likely they'll give it to a poet from the Balkans that only three people have ever heard of. 

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