Murakami seen leading Nobel literature race

Murakami seen leading Nobel literature race

STOCKHOLM - Agence France-Presse
Murakami seen leading Nobel literature race

Joyce Carol Oates with 8/1 odds, while Murakami heads the list with 5/2. AFP Photo

In a year with no clear favorites, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami appears to be the front-runner to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Murakami, known across the globe for works such as “Norwegian Wood” and “1Q84”, heads the list at bookmaker Ladbrokes with 5/2 odds.

Also near the top of the Ladbrokes list is Canadian Alice Munro with odds of 4/1, and American Joyce Carol Oates with 8/1 odds.

Murakami has impressed the critics and won a mass readership with his intricately crafted tales of the absurdity and loneliness of modern life. His works, which are peppered with references to pop culture, have been translated to around 40 languages.

Munro is a writer of short stories, a genre that has only rarely been recognized by the Nobel committee, while Oates can look back at a prolific career spanning five decades during which she has produced more than 40 novels as well as plays and poems. Overall, however, there is little consensus about who will win the prize, worth eight million Swedish kronor ($1,25 million). Observers also point to Belarussian writer Svetlana Alexievich and Algerian Assia Djebar as possible laureates.

The winner’s identity will be revealed today, when the Swedish Academy, picking as its venue the historic Bourse building in downtown Stockholm, will announce the winner of the world’s top prize for
literary excellence.

A total of 195 authors have been nominated, including 48 first timers, and that is pretty much all that is
known beforehand.

The deliberations of the Swedish Academy are secret and will remain closed to the public for the next 50 years, but outsiders still have some inkling of the factors that guide them, and literary fame is not among the top concerns. “For the past 15 years, the Academy has explored questions of literary
quality, the evolution of literature, and its place in a historical context.