A year after the Swedish Academy shocked the world with his choice of Bob Dylan as well as the Nobel prize for literature, the jury is about to reveal the winner of this year’s prestigious honor.
The academy, an assembly of 18 Swedes, who are elected by secret ballot in their roles and keep them for life, revealed that the Nobel prize for literature will be announced on 5 October. More than half of the academy, members must vote for the final winner, who is chosen from about 350 suggestions made by literary experts and former Nobel prize laureates from around the world. Intended to honor Alfred Nobel’s desire to reward “the people who have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”, the SEK9m (£832,000) the prize is awarded to 113 writers since 1901, including 14 women, 28 written in English, and 77 was written in prose.
Nobel prize for literature won by Bob Dylan – as it happened
Last year’s choice, the singer-songwriter Dylan, aroused controversy, especially when Dylan initially failed to recognize his victory – for which he has been described as “rude and arrogant” by the academy member Per Wastberg – and then failed to attend the award ceremony. Instead, he collected the award at a private ceremony four months later, and delivered his speech from the Nobel prize – the only requirement to receive the prize money – just before the deadline has passed. Dylan, selected “for the creation of new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, was later rumored to have written his speech in using the website SparkNotes.
This year, despite the betting Unibet offers odds all the world of George RR Martin to Kanye West to take the prize, the academy should plump for a safer choice. On Ladbrokes, which found last year that 91% of the time, the eventual winner has odds of 10/1 or less when betting was suspended, the ground has been complemented by the perennial contenders in Kenya, Ngũgĩ wa thiong’o at 4/1, and the japanese Haruki Murakami at 5/1. The last black writer to win the Nobel peace prize was the American novelist Toni Morrison in 1993, and the last black winner of Africa has been Wole Soyinka in 1986.
Haruki Murakami named the 4/1 favourite to win the 2016 Nobel prize in literature
Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, buoyed by the success of the recent TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s tale, is in third place on Ladbrokes at 6/1, while the South Korean poet Ko Un, fourth at 8/1. Other names in Ladbrokes of the raw contenders include novelist, Israeli Amos Oz, Italian author and translator, Claudio Magris and Spanish writer Javier Marías.