Apparently a Kenyan author, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, is favored by Ladbrokes, the largest retail bookmaker worldwide, to win the Nobel prize in literature this year. You can read about it here. I’ve never read anything by him, but even if he loses I’ll try to check out his work. Interesting fact: Thiong’o wrote one of his novels on toilet paper while imprisoned in Kenya.
Cormac McCarthy is close on Thiong’o’s heels at second place. I realize a lot of people criticize McCarthy for the inauthenticity of his portrayal of Mexicans and their culture, and for his sometimes clichéd Western characters, but I feel that Blood Meridian is a work of genius which alone justifies a Nobel win for McCarthy.
The Japanese author Haruki Murakami (note that at the time I read the Guardian article, this was misspelled “Haruki Marukami”…) is in third place at the moment. I’ve read his Wind-up Bird Chronicles and enjoyed it, but it certainly wasn’t Nobel material. I’m not familiar enough with his full oeuvre to fairly judge his worthiness for the prize, though.
This is a little surprising, as up until now it was almost a foregone conclusion in some circles that the prize would go to a poet. It has been 13 years since Poland’s Wislawa Szymborska won the Nobel for her poetry, and I’ll be a little disappointed if the Nobel ignores poetry yet again. Personally I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I do believe that the Nobel prize for literature should fairly reward all forms of literature. In any case, I’m glad that there is an element of mystery in the prize this year.