Bob Dylan. Photo credit: Dena Flows http://www.flickr.com/photos/denaflows/5035928690/sizes/z/in/photostream/
We’re now waist deep in the annual Nobel Prize season, and that can only mean one thing: the betting frenzy centred on the Nobel Prize in Literature is heating up to boiling point. The big question heating up the net is is does singer Bob Dylan really stand a chance?
There was a tragic tinge to the first Nobel Prize announcement on Monday, but now, with the scientific prizes soon to be out of the way, attention is turning to Thursday’s Literature announcement, and one or two unusual names are being thrown up.
Dylan coming in in the betting. Betting giants and connoisseurs of literature Ladbrokes.com mark out the playing field, and this morning the odds made for interesting reading. Over the last 24 hours Bob Dylan has steadily come in with the leading bookies and is now second favourite, at odds of 6/1, behind Syrian poet Adonis.
Unpredictable. Gawker reminds us that last year’s winner, Mario Vargas Llosa, “wasn’t even included in Ladbrokes’ top 10”, and Kjell Espmark, a member of the Nobel Committee for Literature, told DW-world.de that the committee try to ensure “that the decision remains unpredictable” by “changing the criteria” from year to year. But having no real way of telling who might win does nothing to dampen the spirits of the gambling literati, and excited speculation abounds.
Who might win? Despite his improving popularity with punters, nobody seems to really believe that Dylan stands a chance. The New Yorker says the safe pick is the favourite Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Asbar, to give him his full name), as the Committee seek make a “nod of solidarity to the Arab Spring.” Not so, said a thorough overview from The Complete Review. M A Orthofer informed that, from the gossip he’s heard, this isn’t a good year to be a poet. Orthofer also wrote off Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo, because the committee wouldn’t like the consistency of giving the prize to writers of the same language for two years in a row. Jeff O’Neal of Bookriot had a somewhat less sophisticated approach: “Bet wisely. And by that I mean bet on an obscure Eastern European.”
What about the Americans? Despite their recent dominance in the science Nobels (although even that trend is set to end), the Americans haven’t brought home the prize for 20 years, and some people aren’t too happy about it. Adam Kirsch at slate.com fumes that “the Swedes have no clue about American literature”, and is appalled by their “anti-Americanism.” Not all agreed, however, and Alexander Nazaryan claimed that the Americans don’t deserve the prize, saying American writers are “insular and self-involved.”
Nobel worthy. As speculation continues, rank outsider Vijaydan Detha, the “Shakespeare of Rajasthan”, assures us that “each of my story is 100% Nobel-worthy work.” Get your bets in now.