Daily Updates

October 9, 2013

Nobel Prize in literature: What to look out for

STOCKHOLM — After three days of science awards the Nobel spotlight turns to the art of writing Thursday when the Swedish Academy will announce the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature.

Will it be a woman for the first time since 2009? Or the first American in two decades?

The secretive academy drops no hints but that doesn’t stop literature buffs and other Nobel watchers from guessing. Here are some of the themes and potential candidates being mentioned in this year’s speculation:

WOMEN

Although the number of female laureates has risen sharply in the past 10 years, only 12 women have won the coveted award since its inception in 1901. The permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Peter Englund, has acknowledged that it’s an “embarrassingly small” number. If the academy picks a woman this year, Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich or Canada’s Margaret Atwood could be hot contenders, according to literature critics. Egyptian author Nawal el Saadawi, Canadian short story writer Alice Munro and Algeria’s Assia Djebar are other perennial favorites.

German writer Herta Mueller was the last woman to win the Nobel literature award, in 2009. Prominent female authors that the Swedish Academy never awarded include Virginia Woolf and Karen Blixen.

———

AMERICANS

The last American to win a Nobel Prize in literature was Toni Morrison in 1993. The previous permanent secretary of the academy, Horace Engdahl, sparked outrage in U.S. literary circles in 2008 when he told The Associated Press that American writers were too “insular” and “too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture.” Engdahl’s successor, Englund, has not been so dismissive — conceding that it is a problem that academy members are biased toward European literature. The academy has a tendency to pick authors who aren’t widely known, which works against many popular U.S. writers. But if the academy were to look across the Atlantic, potential U.S. winners could include Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Philip Roth or Joyce Carol Oates.

———

BETTORS’ FAVORITES

In recent years the academy has stepped up efforts to prevent leaks before the announcement. Nevertheless, every other year or so the winner is among those getting the most attention by those who bet money on the prize. When French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won in 2008, his odds had plunged in the final hours before the announcement, triggering suspicions of a leak. Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer and China’s Mo Yan, the winners in 2011 and 2012, were also among the top candidates on betting sites. On Wednesday, Japanese author Haruki Murakami was the favorite to win at betting firm Ladbrokes, followed by Munro, Alexievich and Oates. Other writers whose odds have dropped significantly in the past days are Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse and Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.   

———

Follow Malin Rising on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/malinrising

 

1
Text Only
Daily Updates
  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 19, 2014

  • Documents detail another delayed GM recall

    Government documents show that General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and warranty repair claims.

    April 19, 2014

  • Captain of sunken SKorean ferry, 2 crew arrested

    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a rookie third mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred.

    April 19, 2014

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats

    As President Barack Obama travels through Asia this coming week, he will confront a region that’s warily watching the crisis in Ukraine through the prism of its own territorial tensions with China.

    April 19, 2014

  • Delay won’t quell 2014 wrangling over Keystone XL

    Democrats sweating this year’s elections may be hoping that the Obama administration’s latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.

    April 19, 2014

  • In Other News, April 19

    April 19, 2014

  • 5 features an Amazon phone might offer

    A report this week in The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning to release a smartphone has prompted industry analysts and technology blogs to muse about what the device might offer.

    April 19, 2014

  • Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

    A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy.

    April 19, 2014

  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors

    With an expanded field of runners and the memory of last year’s bombings elevating interest in one of the world’s great races, the 2014 Boston Marathon could bring an unprecedented wave of visitors and an influx of tourism dollars to the area.

    April 19, 2014

  • Autopsy to ID dead boy; body cast off side of road

    All Massachusetts authorities could say for sure is that they found the lifeless body of a small boy, apparently cast off the side of a highway.

    April 19, 2014