Thursday (Oct 9) is possibly the day when the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature 2014 would be announced. So, who do you think would win the Nobel this year? Who are you rooting for?
Every year around this time I rack my brain a lot speculating on the possible winner, but I never got it right. The only time I kind of hit was last year when I published a short list of four writers. The third name on my list won it.
Honestly, I have not invested any time or effort this year. For whatever reason, I find myself less enthusiastic and feel that there is less buzz and excitement around the Nobel Prize this year. You just have to visit the World Literature Forum to believe it. There are so many wonderful savvy readers of literature in there who passionately interact, debate and give their valued speculation in the forum. They are there this year too, but without that exclusivity or intensity.
One of the beauties about the Nobel Prize is that it has no long list or short list, and you have to speculate based solely on your reading of world literature and its trends. There is of course betting site like Ladbrokes, but you see some perennial contenders over there every year like Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth etc. The odds against writers are mostly made-up there and never reflective of literature’s best judgement. It does not make much sense to try to locate your future Nobel winner down there.
So who is my candidate this year? I want to play it safe this time. A writer with less established mainstream appeal is going to win the Nobel this time.
What do I base my prediction on? Please consider these facts. Coetzee was followed by Jelinek. Lessing by Le Clezio, Vergas Llosa by Transtromer. There is a pattern: if it's a well-known writer one year, it's sure to be a less-known writer the next year. It was Alice Munro last year - an established mainstream writer. She is likely to be followed by someone less known, not from the mainstream, even an obscure writer.
But then the Nobel Prize Committee always springs a surprise.