The new permanent secretary, Peter Englund, will announce the prize for the first time. It will be interesting to see if the prize takes a different direction with a new secretary or if it will (as I suspect it will) stay the same, unchanged.
I have a few favorites, who have been favorites for some time now. Last year Doris Lessing got crossed off that list of mine but I’d like to speak of a few of the others.
The author that is first on my list of candidates comes as a surprise to no one who knows me. It is the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami whose work I’ve admired for years now. His originality, magical-realism sometimes bordering on surrealism is astounding to me and I truly think there is no better novelist alive today. This is of course a bold statement if we think about all the great authors out there.
Ladbrokes has in the past year had a fairly good prediction rate on the Nobel Prize in Literature, this is their list this year. Amos Oz is predictably on top of their list, tightly followed by Djebar and Oates.
What I do think they should do is give the prize to the poet Bob Dylan this year though. He’s been on the list as an outsider for several years now, speculations either claim he is an extremely unlikely candidate or the perfect poet. I think it would path a way in a new direction for the prize. It would renew it in a way that is much needed because excluding a poet like Bob Dylan in favor of some obscure poet we’ve never heard of limits the prize’s possibilities.
I do appreciate the value of being introduced to great new authors, authors that would otherwise have passed me by completely. I appreciate that authors like the Icelandic novelist, Halldór Laxness would have gone unnoticed by the rest of the world had it not been for the Nobel Prize and I do think that it’s an interesting and a very important aspect of the prize. And there are so many authors, so many poets, so many play writers that could and maybe should get the prize but never do because of a simple thing as time limit.
Bob Dylan however, should not be seen as an underdog amongst fellow poets simply because we all already know who he is, have listened to his songs and appreciated his lyrics. He should get the prize, not because of these things, but to mark that song lyrics can be just as poetic as words written on a piece of paper or read out loud monotonously.
Other names I favor on the ladbroke list are Salmon Rushdie, Cormac McCarthy, Paul Auster, Ko Un, Milan Kundera and perhaps Mario Vargas Llosa.
I’ve never been good at predicting who will get it. I will be watching with interest to see who gets it, as I have done in the past years. I can admit that my heart thumbs for some reason when I see the doors to the chambers open and the permanent secretary enter the room to announce the prize. It’s always interesting to get to know new authors, it’s always satisfying when an author you have appreciated gets the prize.
Is there too much prestege and snobbery around the prize? Sure there is and I’m glad there are other prizes out there focusing on genre’s this prize has ignored completely but that’s a topic for a completely new entry.