In an interview in 2007, the prose and short-story writer Teet Kallas (born 1943) said that awarding the Nobel has become similar to awarding the Lenin Prize. There is an agenda: a geopolitical one, plus one involving giving it to minorities or someone representing rights groups. Kallas suggests that the whole prize has been politicised and that they try to give it to various people out of kindness, so that no one feels hurt or left out.
Has the Nobel become, like the Eurovision Song Contest, an arena for bitterly rival forces and geopolitical group bargaining, or a kind of palliative prize to keep everyone happy? Or even a prize to perpetuate a world cultural Úlite that mere mortals cannot join? Do the winners over the last few years show that it is still the most important literary prize in the world?
Teet Kallas himself was a dissident in his day, and suffered at the hands of the secret police. Nevertheless, once upon a time the editions of some of his dozen or so novels were up in the 48,000 copies range, with the book selling out in a couple of days.