The permanent secretary of the Academy, Horace Engdahl, will make the much-awaited announcement in Stockholm on Thursday at 1pm (11am GMT).
In line with tradition, the Academy gave no indication of its choice. It never reveals the names it is considering, and its deliberations are sealed for 50 years.
While editors and literary critics in Stockholm stress that trying to predict the Academy’s choice is a mere guessing game, French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio appeared to be the name on everyone’s lips in the run-up to this year’s announcement.
“This time I think it could be Le Clezio,” Maria Schottenius, culture editor at Sweden’s paper of reference Dagens Nyheter, told AFP, citing as other possibilities Romanian-born German author Herta Mueller and South Korean poet Ko Un.
Other names cited in recent weeks were Algerian French-language novelist Assia Djebar, Cees Nooteboom of the Netherlands, Israeli author Amos Oz, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, Czech writer Arnost Lustig and Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes.
Yet others include Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, US authors Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates, Japan’s Haruki Murakami, Italy’s Antonio Tabucchi and French poet Yves Bonnefoy.
Other poets were Syria’s Adonis, Australia’s Les Murray, John Ashberry of the United States, Denmark’s Inger Christensen and Sweden’s Tomas Tranströmer.
Meanwhile, online betting site Ladbrokes has Italian essayist Claude Magris as the frontrunner with 4-to-1 odds, ahead of Adonis, Oates and Roth.
Last year, the honours went to British novelist Doris Lessing.
The laureate will receive 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.42 million).