• Sweden's news in English

Pundits tip poets for Nobel Literature Prize

The Local · 6 Oct 2009, 10:53

Published: 06 Oct 2009 10:53 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A Spanish language author has not won the prize since 1990, so it could also be time for Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa, often mentioned as a possible Nobel winner, to finally clinch the prestigious distinction, according to other experts in Stockholm.

In line with tradition, the Swedish Academy which awards the prize is keeping mum. No list of candidates ever leaves the Academy's walls, and its members are sworn to secrecy.

While many Swedish editors, book critics and followers of the Academy refuse to get in on the annual buzz surrounding the possible winner, those who do dare to venture a guess tend to mention the same names cited every year in the run-up to the announcement.

"A lot of people are saying it's time for a poet. Maybe it will be a poet this year," says Stefan Eklund, culture editor at Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.

The most recent poet honoured with the Nobel was Wislawa Szymborska of Poland 13 years ago.

"It's time for poetry. That would be nice!", exclaims Håkan Bravinger, an editor at Swedish publishing house Norstedts.

But when it comes to predicting a possible laureate? "I have not the slightest idea," Eklund admits.

"They might want to give it to (Swedish poet) Tomas Tranströmer at last," says the manager of the Hedengrens bookstore in central Stockholm, Nicklas Björkholm.

Pushed on which poets could be contenders for the prize, Eklund also mentions the Swede, as well as Adonis, the pseudonym of Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said.

"An American female poet would be great, but I don't know who," Bravinger says.

One thing is for sure, according to Björkholm: "It will definitely be (someone from) outside Europe."

That would exclude his own pick Tranströmer, he admits with a shrug of his shoulders, demonstrating the difficulty and contradictions involved in trying to predict the Academy's leanings.

While nationality doesn't play a role in the Academy's choice, "the language will have a role," Björkholm says, noting that "it's been a long time since a Spanish" language writer won the prize.

When it comes to those, one name is mentioned more than others: "I always hope for Vargas Llosa," reveals Björkholm, who says he correctly predicted last year's winner, French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio.

Yet his first choice for this year would ideally be Canadian short story writer Alice Munro, even though the Nobel Literature Prize has "never gone to a short story writer."

Munro won the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her body of work.

Bravinger said he would also like to see the Nobel go to "someone working differently."

He cited Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, who cannot win because he "died a few years ago, but that kind of writer would be interesting."

And then there are the big favourites whose names turn up every year amid the Nobel buzz.

They include Israel's Amos Oz, US authors Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates and Thomas Pynchon, Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, South Korea's Ko Un, Japan's Haruki Murakami, Claudio Magris of Italy and Albania's Ismail Kadare.

Another person often mentioned and who could be in the running this year again is Algeria's French-language novelist Assia Djebar, according to Eklund.

Story continues below…

One of her books is currently being read on Swedish public radio -- whether that means she will end up as this year's laureate remains to be seen.

After last year's award went to Le Clézio, the chances of a French language author winning two years in a row are probably minimal.

"But you never know with the Swedish Academy," recalled Eklund.

That is perhaps especially true since the Academy has a new permanent secretary, Peter Englund.

Meanwhile, online betting site Ladbrokes gave the lowest odds for Amos Oz, at 4-to-1, while the top poet was Adonis with 8-to-1 odds and the top Spanish- language writer was Luis Goytisolo of Spain at 9-to-1 odds.

AFP's Igor Gedilaghine

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:27 October 6, 2009 by riazur rehman
these are speculations only. none of the above mentioned authors deserve the nobel except for the Mario Vargas llose. He too is not likely to win.
19:18 October 13, 2009 by Beynch
I think the literary price shoud go to Obama too. As the school children in Atlanta have been indoctrinated to sing:

-MMM MMM MMM Barack Hussein Obama

-mmm mmm mmm Equal Pay for equal work

-MMM MMM MMM Barack Hussein Obama

-mmm mmm mmm Public option on the table

This should suffice for the literary prize one would think.
Today's headlines
Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
jobs available