Monday, October 08, 2007

Nobel Prize in Literature

This year's Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded on Thursday. For some years, both the Syrian poet Adonis and the American novelist Philip Roth have been mentioned as possible winners, and that's true of this year as well. Other possible winners are Joyce Carol Oates, Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera, Claudio Magris, Les Murray, Tomas Tranströmer, Ian McEwan, and Amos Oz.

The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet has a
list of potential winners and the current odds on each of them.

Who do you think deserves the prize? And who do you think will win?

9 comments:

Sarah Alys said...

What a question! The slate of canditates is so diverse with so many different types of writing, I can't even begin to imagine who would be my pick.... @_@

B.J. Epstein said...

Well, some people make a game out of it. For example, last year a male writer from Turkey, a Muslim country, won. So that means that it is highly unlikely that another Muslim writer will win this year. Some people look at the statistics along those lines (how many women won in recent years, what countries were people from, etc.), and then try to guess using that information, since they believe the Swedish Academy thinks like that, wanting to be fair (how very Swedish of them!).
There are some authors on that list I can't imagine winning (Roth, Oates, Munro), in part because their work is not "different" enough when compared to that of previous winners. Then there are some candidates whose early work was good (such as Kundera), but who haven't done all that much noteworthy in recent years.
I think there's a good chance of a poet winning this year, but I wonder if the Academy would steer clear of a Swedish winner (such as Tranströmer).

Best wishes,
BJ

Andrew Shields said...

My personal Nobel-worthy discovery this year was the Korean poet Ko Un.

But I'll take Murray or Kundera for sure!

B.J. Epstein said...

Yes, Ko Un has been on the list of potential winners for awhile now. An Asian author seems like a strong possibility!
We'll see tomorrow!

Best wishes,
BJ

Andrew Shields said...

DORIS!!

Eric Dickens said...

Well it is a game, isn't it? A lottery. But I'm glad that someone who has been in the queue for donkey's years has finally won.

I'm ashamed to say that I've never read any of Doris Lessing's books, but I am grateful to her on a different count:

When I translated a novel from Estonian, "Treading Air" by Jaan Kross (also 87 years old now), it was hardly reviewed by anyone in the mainstream press. However, Doris Lessing reviewed this book on 28th June 2003 in "The Spectator".

B.J. Epstein said...

Yes, Eric, it can seem like a lottery! I wonder how much those who bet on her won!

When she reviewed the book you translated, did she make sure to mention that you were the translator?

Best wishes,
BJ

Eric Dickens said...

No, BJ, she didn't. I was a bit irked at the time, but I'll forgive her now she's won the Nobel. And I might even start to read some of her books.

B.J. Epstein said...

Well, personally, I'd still be irked! How many times have we seen reviews that don't even mention the fact that something is a translation (see http://brave-new-words.blogspot.com/2007/06/out-stealing-translators.html for another example)? I won't get on a soapbox, but I dislike this ignorant practice of not crediting the translator and think that reviewers need to be educated.

Best wishes,
BJ