Sunday, September 23, 2012

Your Prediction for this Year's Nobel Prize in Literature

It is that time of the year when followers and lovers of literature begin to predict or speculate about the possible winner(s) of the highest award in literature - the Nobel Prize in Literature. Every year several names pop up at several sites and blogs in articles that explain why one author deserves to be awarded more than the other and why others need not to be awarded. In fact, some of the arguments, debates and discussions have been geocentric with some readers and followers bashing the Swedish panel for being too Eurocentric; this is because no American has won the award since 1993 when Toni Morrison - that intelligent writer and Champion of the African (sorry) Black American history - won the award, though several names like Philip Roth, Bob Dylan, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon are always bandied about at various places. Since the award began in 1901, only four Africans have won the award; Wole Soyinka, 1986; Naguib Mahfouz, 1988; Nadine Gordimer, 2001; and J.M. Coetzee, 2003.

Horace Engdahl responded to this Eurocentricism criticism, saying:
Europe is still the center of the literary world [and that] the US is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature.
 In the last two decades, there has been one winner from America (Toni Morrison, 1993), one from Africa (J. M. Coetzee, 2003) and one from Asia (Kenzaburo Oe, 1994). There has also been a Chinese winner, Gao Xianjiang, in 2000 who is a citizen of France. Two individuals from Latin America, Mario Vargas Llosa from Peru and Spain (2010) and Derek Walcott from Saint Lucia (1992), have also won the awards. The remaining 15 have gone to Europeans: Seamus Heaney (1995), Ireland; Wisława Szymborska (1996), Poland; Dario Fo (1997), Italy; José Saramago (1998), Portugal; Günter Grass (1999), Germany; V.S. Naipaul (2001), United Kingdom & Trinidad and Tobago; Imre Kertész (2002), Hungary; Elfriede Jelinek (2004), Austria; Harold Pinter (2005), United Kingdom; Orhan Pamuk (2006), Turkey; Doris Lessing (2007), United Kingdom; J. M. G. Le Clézio (2008), France and Mauritius; Herta Müller (2009), Germany and Romania; and Tomas Tranströmer (2011), Sweden.

With the first week in October set to give us another Nobelist, several names have started coming up. Africa has not been left out from the speculative lists with names like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, Ngugi wa Thiong'o and others.

The Question: Whom do you predict to win the Nobel Prize in Literature this year and why do you think so? Will the prize be in Europe or will America be finally recognised once again? Will Africa gets its fifth Nobelist?

11 comments:

  1. I am always terrible at this game. Achebe seems like the glaringly obvious choice. I know he does not want it, but so what?

    If the Nobel Committee is trying to make up for its Eurocentrism, a writer from the neglected Arabic or Chinese traditions would be likely, too.

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    1. I tend to believe this that it might go to Asia. Not sure of the writer, though the Nobel has always surprised us. I never knew Tomas or Herta.

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    2. Amateur... at least a Chinese won. Thanks.

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  2. Bah, I played this game for a couple of years, but it's pointless. I'll just wait for the announcement. There are hundreds of writers worthy of it. From Africa I consider Pepetela a worthy recipient, but I don't think he's even on the race.

    I'll just try to be happy for whoever receives it, provided I consider him a good writer.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. So many worthy of the prize, making it difficult to predict it. It's one of the most difficult to predict prizes not only because of the number of those who deserve it but also because of the unknowns who have won it.

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  3. Ben Okri is just so good.. what he does with words is more than great!... Chimamanda Ngozi Aichie.. is a great writer too.. but she still needs some time to contribute more to the literary world.
    Chinua Achebe has dedicated his whole life to Literature, he sure deserves the Nobel Prize. He is one of the best if not the best writers in the history of Africa.

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    Replies
    1. I agree that Chimamanda has more to give to Literature before she could be considered. There are also names like Assia Djebar, Nurrudin Farrah, and Leila Aboulela... the odds of them winning are extreme.

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  4. my pick is Ngugi.
    as for Chimanmanda I don't know why they are mentioning her name when even Prof. Amma Atta Aidoo's name is not mentioned. such belittling!

    anyway, my pick is Ngugi.

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    Replies
    1. That's some of the peculiarities of the Nobel. I remember when Herta Muller won in 2009, she was entirely unknown even within Germany. Though I think, if it's based on how one's work has helped a noble cause and furthered peace and humaneness I will go for either Ngugi or Achebe. Achebe's Things Fall Apart alone has brought to the rest of the world, certain issues about Africa. Ngugi has done a lot for Africa in terms of language and its use. He also has the political wherewithal to stand against corrupt governments et al.

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  5. J.K. Rowling! :)

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    Replies
    1. For real or for PR? For delighting children for years with the Potter series

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