• Sweden edition
 
Syrian poet tipped ahead of Nobel lit prize announcement

Syrian poet tipped ahead of Nobel lit prize announcement

Published: 02 Oct 2011 13:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Oct 2011 13:03 GMT+02:00

Predicting the Nobel Literature Prize winner is near-impossible as the Swedish Academy stays tight-lipped and often honours writers off the beaten path - so could it be Syrian poet Adonis this year?

Each year the names of popular authors are tossed about - US novelists Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates and Cormac McCarthy to name a few - but their work may actually be too widely read for them to become Nobel laureates.

"The whole idea of the prize is not to be mainstream," Stephen Farran-Lee, senior editor at Swedish publishing house Bonniers, told AFP.

A look at the list of recent winners could prove him right: Mario Vargas Llosa, Herta Mueller, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, Doris Lessing, Orhan Pamuk, Harold Pinter, Elfriede Jelinek, JM Coetzee, Imre Kertesz, VS Naipaul, Gao Xingjian, Guenter Grass, Jose Saramago, Dario Fo, Wislawa Szymborska.

A political choice may thus be more likely when the Academy announces its decision, which it is likely to do on October 6th though the date has not been confirmed yet. Given the current situation in the Middle East, Syrian poet Adonis or even Israeli author Amos Oz could be well-placed this year.

"It's time for a poet and the Mideast. So who would be better than Adonis?," said Nicklas Björkholm, manager of one of Stockholm's biggest bookstores, Hedengrens.

In June, Adonis, whose real name is Ali Ahmed Said and who lives in France, won the Goethe Prize. The same month, he published an open letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a Lebanese newspaper urging him to end the bloody repression.

"It seems your destiny is to sacrifice yourself for your mistakes and to give back voice to the people and let them decide," he wrote in the letter.

Online betting site Ladbrokes tipped Adonis as the favourite on September 30th, just ahead of Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer and far ahead of US author Thomas Pynchon and musician Bob Dylan.

"This year, Adonis will get it, it's politically correct," Björkholm insisted. Yet exactly that argument has others doubting the Syrian's chance.

"The Academy is very keen to point out that they don't have a political agenda," Farran-Lee said, noting that even though a writer such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn won it in 1970, the members have no "political tendency".

"I'd say that the chances for an Arab writer are slimmer this year than they've been other years. They want to show their independence," he added.

Like other Nobel-watchers in Stockholm's literary circles, Farran-Lee also noted that the Academy has no set criteria for chosing the laureate, following only vague instructions set out in the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel that created the prizes. "The testament stipulates that the work should be of an 'ideal' nature. Whatever that means."

Since 1974, the prize cannot be awarded posthumously. "The important thing for (the author) is to write lots of good books and as few bad books as possible," Björkholm said.

This broad scope allows for a wide range of names to be floated each Nobel season - as was the case at this year's recently concluded Gothenburg Book Fair that gathered both renowned and up-and-coming authors from around the world just days before the Academy's big announcement.

Organisers said they watch the Academy's choices very closely. This year's fair focused on German-language authors and was attended by "many young very interesting writers" who have bright futures, according to communications director Birgitta Jacobsson Ekblom. But after the 2009 Nobel went to German-language author Herta Mueller, that language isn't likely to be honoured again any time soon.

Jacobsson Ekblom listed some potential winners as Kenya's Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Somalia's Nuruddin Farah, Hungary's Peter Nadas and Korean poet Ko Un, while the Unibet betting site lists other favourites like Japan's Haruki Murakami, India's Vijaydan Detha and Australia's Les Murray.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

08:19 October 3, 2011 by rybo1
Another political Nobel move. Similar to the Chinese guy who praised Bush and the American guy (Obummer), who cradles the "Peace Prize" while being a war monger.

The Nobel sham has lost all of its relevance.
08:45 October 3, 2011 by rise
Nobel's last wish isn't respected any longer but instead the price is yet an other political tool. Today warmongers is getting the Nobel peace price and that says it all.
10:40 October 3, 2011 by Streja
rise and rybo, this is about the prize for literature, not for peace.

I don't agree with the article. Mainstream writers do win the award and some of the ones mentioned in the article are mainstream.
12:24 October 3, 2011 by rouzi
seeing the dirty claws of politicians everywhere is really disgusting.

A world without politicians

A world without nationalists

Possible?
13:27 October 3, 2011 by Streja
Eh? The prize has not been revealed yet! What on eart are you on about rouzi?
13:08 October 4, 2011 by Indignerad
People here are so desperate to find something to whine about that they sometimes don't even read the actual article, they just get straight to whining.
Today's headlines
Pirate Bay founder hacking case starts in confusion

Pirate Bay founder hacking case starts in confusion

The largest hacking case in Danish history began in confusion on Tuesday, after lawyers representing Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg accused the prosecution of "unreasonable" tactics. READ  

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

As H&M expands into Ethiopia, Sweden's state venture capital unit Swedfund has announced that it will back the clothing giant, in a move hoped to create more jobs for local women. READ  

Elections 2014
Social Democrats reveal election manifesto
Photo: TT

Social Democrats reveal election manifesto

UPDATED: Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats has revealed its election manifesto at a press conference at a high school in Stockholm, with a key focus on education and welfare benefits. READ  

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

A teenage boy is in a critical condition after he was hit by a passing metro train in Stockholm. The accident ground rail traffic to a halt, and has police suspecting attempted murder. READ  

Swimrun
Record win at Sweden's tough island race
Photo: Jakob Edholm/ÖTILLÖ14

Record win at Sweden's tough island race

Two Swedes crushed last year's course record at the Swimrun world championship in Stockholm's archipelago on Monday. READ  

Sweden reveals Academy Award submission
Swedish director Ruben Östlund on set. Photo. TT

Sweden reveals Academy Award submission

The movie set to represent Sweden at the 2015 Academy Awards was revealed on Monday, a film that has already won awards abroad. READ  

Amphetamines
Hidden forest drug stash leads to prosecution

Hidden forest drug stash leads to prosecution

A 53-year-old man has been prosecuted after police in western Sweden made one of their largest drug seizures in the area. READ  

Man shot dead in hunting accident
Photo: Hunter Desportes/Flickr

Man shot dead in hunting accident

UPDATED: Police in northern Sweden say a man was killed on Monday morning after what they described as a "hunting accident". READ  

Pirate Bay Swede's trial set for final stage

Pirate Bay Swede's trial set for final stage

The mother of Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has told The Local about her son's "suffering" in jail ahead of the final stages of his trial. READ  

Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden

UPDATED: Officials at a Stockholm hospital reported that they had found a suspected case of the Ebola virus on Sunday night. But the case was dismissed on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Blog updates

02 September

America night (Blogweiser) »

" There was an event this weekend for the ‘Americans in Sweden’ Facebook group. I’m a member, and I brought my girls to the evening. The gathering was at a Boston-themed sportsbar in a mall. There were loads of screens, a bowling alley, a game room and a jumbotron. It was as good a place as any to..." READ »

 

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

746
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se