Haruki Murakami, probably not getting the nobel prize this year

It’s that time of year again when some online forum (viz., The Guardian) claims that this is the year that Haruki Murakami will win the Nobel Prize in literature:

After years of hovering in the wings, this could be Haruki Murakami’s year to clinch the Nobel prize for literature – at least if you go by the odds offered by Ladbrokes on the Japanese author, who is 3-1 favourite.

Other favoured contenders include US author Joyce Carol Oates (6-1), Hungarian writer Peter Nádas (7-1), South Korean poet Ko Un (10-1), and Alice Munro, the short story writer from Canada (12-1).

But I’m convinced that Murakami won’t win this year after last year’s pick of Mo Yan. The committee likes to spread the geographic extent of their picks and it’s not only way too soon for another Asian winner but their styles are way too similar.

Of course, the literati over at The Literary Saloon have been pushing Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o for years and betting has been suspended on him because of ‘irregularities’ (surprisingly large bets from Sweden). Moreover, he’s got the political bona fides that the committee loves – Marxist, fights colonialism, won’t write in English anymore. And after the political whoops-a-daisy that was Mo Yan, I think someone like Thiong’o has a pretty good shot.

[For the record, I love Murakami, am kind of indifferent to Yan, and have never read anything by Thiong’o.]


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