The Nobel Prize 2016: The One Where I Pick It Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt

on Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Now I am by no means Sherlock Holmes (or Hercule Poirot or even, for that matter, Encyclopaedia Brown) but I deduce me a Nobel Prize announcement in the next 48 hours. It is, of course, Nobel week - those seven days where the word holds its collective breath to laud a bunch of people of whom they've never heard for the discovery of things they can't ever hope to understand. The Swedish Academy has already announced the gongs for Medicine and Physics. The Nobel Prize for Literature is a notoriously secretive affair, so much so that they won't even give us the date of the announcement. But one needn't possess the greatest sleuthing faculties to work it out. Check out the website. Medicine: October 3. Physics: October 4. Chemistry: October 5. Peace: October 7... Wait... What? NOTHING ON OCTOBER 6? Wow. I wonder what that could possibly mean! Of course, there's always the chance of a weekend reveal. The Economics Prize isn't announced until October 10, well after anyone's stopped giving a shit. But recent history suggests that the prize for Literature will be announced before the Peace Prize so that really only leaves one day.

With that rant done and dusted I now move to the likely laureate. Recent form has seen me so ridiculously off the mark that you can probably rule out whoever I pick. Same, I dare say goes for the bookies' odds. Yet again Haruki Murakami tops the list with short odds of 4/1, proving that should the Nobel ever come down to a popular vote, the prize will go to a throughly underserving person. Much like it often does already. I like that there is a bona fide cult of Murakami tragics and that they're willing to lose money every year in the vain hope of someone they think is cool and quirky snaring a slice of literary immortality, but come on. Murakami? Seriously? Adunis is up there again. He's a poet. His odds are 6/1. He stands a chance. If he wins I'll put him on the pile next to Transtromer (you know, the one that looks good on a coffee table but will never actually be opened). Interestingly, Philip Roth has made it up the list to come third in the betting. I'd love to see him win - he has pretty much defined American literature for the past 50 years and, now that he has retired, has plenty of time to polish whatever medals he can add to the trophy cabinet. The Academy openly hates Americans though so he's much more likely to be adding another face to his dartboard come Thursday. The rest of the top 10 is comprised of familiar names: Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Joyce Carol Oates, Ismail Kadare, Javier Marias, Jon Fosse, Ko Un and John Banville (though, to be fair Antunes, Krasznahorkai and Aria have the same odds as Banville, Un and Fosse).

I'd love to see Krasznahorkai win. The guy is an impenetrable genius. Then there's Kadare. Or Marias. Or Kundera. All brilliant. All unlikely to win now that I've singled them out. In that vein, I choose as my final pick Haruki Murakami. He will definitely win. 100%. You know what that means. No need to thank me.


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