The Nobel for literature has been turned down twice. Boris Pasternak, after accepting it in 1958, was compelled to say no it by the Soviet Union. In 1964, Jean Paul Sartre turned it down as a result of he had persistently declined all official honours.
And we’re off! You may watch the video on the prime of this liveblog (it’s possible you’ll have to refresh your browser in the event you joined us some time again). Fifteen minutes till the winner is introduced…
It’s troublesome to foretell a winner for this yr’s prize, provided that there’s a 99.9% probability I’ll be mistaken, however I’ll go forward anyway and say that I believe Margaret Atwood could possibly be in with an opportunity.
My alternative is fairly calculated: it’s unlikely that the academy will award two consecutive prizes to individuals from the identical geographic area, and as final yr’s prize was awarded to Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was born in Zanzibar, that sadly guidelines out quite a few really wonderful African writers. (I’d prefer to be very mistaken right here.)
The final Canadian to win was Alice Munro in 2013, so there’s an extended sufficient hole between wins for the award to go to a different Canadian legend. Plus, Atwood is in her 80s, and if now is just not the time to honour her, when is?
And lastly, Atwood produces work that speaks to our political, cultural and social occasions, however she’s not faddy, one thing the Swedish Academy would absolutely draw back from.
In order that’s my prediction. Apologies to Atwood prematurely, I’m positively mistaken.
Info and figures
The Nobel prize in literature has been award 114 occasions, to 118 individuals, between 1901 and 2021.
The seven “lacking” prizes have been in 1914, 1918, 1935, 1940, 1941, 1942, and 1943. Lots of these years correspond with the 2 world wars, when fewer prizes have been awarded, however the academy can even select to order the prize cash in the event that they discover “not one of the works into consideration” match the goal of honouring “the one who shall have produced within the area of literature essentially the most excellent work in a really perfect course”.
The youngest literature laureate is Rudyard Kipling, who was 41 years outdated when he was awarded the literature prize in 1907, whereas the oldest is Doris Lessing, who was 88 years outdated when she was awarded the prize precisely 100 years later in 2007.
Lessing is one in every of simply 16 girls who’ve received the prize, a dismally small quantity. The prize has additionally been historically Eurocentric, and in 2019 promised to be much less so; that yr it awarded two European writers.
Earlier years have taught us that any Nobel predictions we make are often very, very mistaken … However that received’t cease us guessing yearly! My cash’s on French creator Michel Houellebecq this yr, who can also be one of many bookies’ favourites.
It wouldn’t be proper to do a Nobel prize stay weblog with out sharing the hilarious video of 2007 winner Doris Lessing.
Over at The Atlantic, the New Republic’s workers author Alex Shepherd stated it’s a “idiot’s errand” to attempt to predict the winner of the literature prize; admitting he’s acquired it mistaken for seven years in a row.
This yr, as a substitute of winners, he’s picked authors who “have by no means received the prize” and certain received’t this yr, however who’ve “over the previous a number of a long time, constructed up an astonishing and influential physique of labor”.
Shepherd’s first choose is Norwegian novelist and playwright Jon Fosse, who was shortlisted for the Worldwide Booker Prize this yr for A New Title: Septology VI-VII, translated by Damion Searls.
Additionally on Shepherd’s checklist is French author Annie Ernaux, who was final yr’s bookies’ favorite to win, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who Shepherd describes as “arguably a very powerful and influential African novelist working at this time”. The 84-year-old recurrently seems on lists of doable winners of the Nobel, however Shepherd says this yr is especially unlikely given the academy awarded an African author, Abdulrazaq Gurnah, in 2021.
Chinese language author Can Xue and Australian creator Gerald Murnane are the ultimate two authors on Shepherd’s checklist.
Individuals hoping to see Hilary Mantel, who died final month, win the Nobel prize in literature may need to suppose once more; the principles state that the Nobel Prizes can’t be awarded posthumously.
Since 1974, if a recipient dies after the prize has been introduced, they will nonetheless be awarded it. Beforehand, an individual could possibly be awarded posthumously if that they had already been nominated earlier than 1 February of the identical yr.