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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

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    Award Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Strange, usually midway through the summer one of our "famous" Nobel speculation threads is already well under way, with blood being spilled here there and everywhere, . Sometimes we start them as early as June. Daniel usually jumps at the opportunity to be the first to do so (I wonder what happened to dampen his spirits this year?)

    Annnyyywwwaaay, on to the meat.

    What are some of your hopefuls for this year's Prize? Names you think WILL win? Names you feel ought to win, and just might? Names you feel ought to win but stand no chance?

    Personally I think this year's award will go either to an Asian writer (Ko Un, perhaps?) or a Middle Easterner (Adonis? or one of those pro-Palestinian Israeli authors [sounds like an oxymoron, but they're out there]).

    I am always pleased when a poet wins, but I doubt it will happen this year, since TT was awarded in 2011 (it's too soon).

    Any new names you would like to add into the mix?

    One thing is certain, however. The winner, whoever he/she or they are, won't be Swedish, !

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Liam View Post
    One thing is certain, however. The winner, whoever he/she or they are, won't be Swedish, !
    and very unlikely a 'poet' to get it again this time. That will rule out Adonis and Ko Un.

    Personally, I would like it to go to Africa , this time.
    Jayan



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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by kpjayan View Post
    and very unlikely a 'poet' to get it again this time. That will rule out Adonis and Ko Un.

    Personally, I would like it to go to Africa , this time.
    Oh, who knows. They've done it before. Szymborska got her award one year after Heaney.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Recently I was checking the Nobel Library @ Stockholm, and aside from some usual names (Joyce Carol Oates(138 titles in the library), Ismail Kadaré(107), Peter Handke(95), Margaret Atwood(63)), I noticed a vast amount of works available by (or about) the following 10 authors (which I would like to submit for discussion):

    Novelists: Antonio Lobo Antunes (83 titles), Tahar Ben Jelloun (54).

    Poets: Tadeusz Rózewicz (86), Hans M. Enzensberger (68), Adam Zagajewski (62), Charles Simic (51), Durs Grünbein(50), John Ashbery (50), Friederike Mayröcker (45).

    Playwrights: Botho Strauss (45).

    I know these stats don't say anything about quality (this being a sort of Franco Moretti approach), but they do indicate something about the interest (number of translations included) of publishing houses around the world in these authors, and also of how much attention Stockholm has payed them (or at least for the curators of the library).

    I wonder what you accomplished readers have to say about those authors. Are they likely as Nobel Winners this year?

    Let's begin with Lobo Antunes: Does anyone think he is a likely candidate? Why should he win the Nobel prize?

    (As for my opinion on the authors: So far I haven't responded well to the rambling narrative of Mr. Antunes (having only read the first of his books: Elephant Memory). On the other hand, I am in awe of some insightful moments of Mr. Grünbein and the jaded wisdom of Mr. Rózewicz, even though I disagree with some of their poems, specially ones I find too expressionistic, disregarding form. As for the other authors, I haven't read enough to make up my mind.)

    PS: Just for reference (if anyone is interested), here is a title-count of other authors in the Nobel library:

    Writers from some Cannons: Strindberg (424), Shakespeare (254), Dostoevskij (137), Proust (104), Zbigniew Herbert (64), V. Woolf (63), Franz Kafka (60), J. Joyce (53), Jorge Amado (50), Celan (44), Sebald (33)...

    Past winners: Milosz (190), M. Vargas Llosa (135), Samuel Beckett (120), André Gide (120), Doris Lessing (103), Joseph Brodsky (98), Knut Hamsun (88), Yeats (86), V.S. Naipaul (66), Imre Kertesz (63), JM Coetzee(58), Jelinek (54), E. Canetti (51), Pinter (49), Claude Simon (40)...

    Contemporary authors: Umberto Eco (68), Adonis (57), Amos Oz(53), Kundera (50), Martin Walser (50), Jon Fosse (48), Evgenij Evtuskenko (48), the late Mahmoud Darwish (46), Philip Roth (46), György Konrad (40), the late Jaan Kross (40), Ngugi Wa Thiong'o (35), Mo Yan (35), Achebe (31), DeLillo (30), Thomas Venclova (29), Ko Un (29), Mia Couto (28), Tokarczuk (28), Breytenbach (26), Fugard (20), Doulatabadi (15), Krasznahorkai (15), Cormac McCarthy (12), Gerald Murnane (12), James Kelman (11), Edward Albee (10)...
    Last edited by Gabriel; 05-Oct-2012 at 13:17.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Krasznahorkai
    Oh gosh, if L. K. won I'd be thrilled!

    But maybe a Russian dissident will get it?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Liam View Post
    Strange, usually midway through the summer one of our "famous" Nobel speculation threads is already well under way, with blood being spilled here there and everywhere, . Sometimes we start them as early as June. Daniel usually jumps at the opportunity to be the first to do so (I wonder what happened to dampen his spirits this year?)
    Oh Liam, did you miss me? How sweet of you
    Well, I've been really busy these weeks and frankly, after so many years with the speculation, deleting the names that won and the ones that passed away, 85% remain the same. Favorites to ladbrokes will be Roth, Adonis, Ko Un, McCarthy, Thiong'o, Murakami, Pynchon, De Lillo, etc.

    My favorites are the same than last year: Kadare, Murakami, Maalouf, Gelman, Pacheco. The big names missing in this year's list is Antonio Tabucchi's who died in March and Carlos Fuentes who passed away in May.

    Now if I had to put some money on it, I would throw three names out there: Antonio Lobo Antunes, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o & Cormac McCarthy (I really really hope Roth doesn't win, very mediocre writer).

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    I really really hope Roth doesn't win, very mediocre writer.
    For once we're in agreement, amigo, .

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Now,this is how I started back the speculation thread for 2011. Let's see the variations:

    1. POETS/(15 years) year after year we all hope to get a new poet laureate and every year we see it falling down in front of our eyes. It is obvious that a poet deserves to be back at the top of the Swedish literary world, but who? As I said the previous years, I'm sure there are great poets all around the globe, but I don't see a clear figure that can represent poetry in its origins and be a universal image of what poetry is about.
    Well, they proved me wrong. Next.

    2. USA writers/(18 years) I think it's their year. Or not? Well, all the international prizes given this year have been granted to English speaking writers (not necessarily Americans) so tendencies can be giving us a clue on what may happen in early October. There are a few UK laureates lately so it can be the US and Australia the countries that are on my mind. Or what about the Irish, with no representantion after Seamus Heany won it back in 1995. I'd still go to US, I think they're finally getting it. Who? Well here is a lot to discuss.
    This is the same situation, with Philip Roth adding more and more prizes to his display cabinet and the critics from the United States crying all over again for not awarding him. However, I still see hostility against Roth's works in the Swedish Academy so if the winner comes from the United States I'd incline for Cormac McCarthy.

    3. Africa & Far-off Asia/ There is an enormous amount of talents in Africa, most of them writing in accesible languages for the Swedes (English, French, Portuguese), so why not recognize them after 25 years that Soyinka won the award?
    South Korea, Japan and China have also a great potential. It would be interesting to have the first truly Chinese winner or the first ever Korean writer. Japan of course has a lot of potential, but I don't think Murakami, who is the obvious choice will get it this year.
    Everything points it to be Ngugi's year. His name is powerful enough to be in the lists but known worldwide as many other big selling names. Don't see Orient having the prize this year.

    4. "Obscure" writers/ After Vargas Llosa winning it last year, I don't think they're going to go with a worldwide well known and recognized name for a second year in a row. I just don't see it happening. It'd surprise me and many people, but I think that the big names that have been floating around the award for some years will have to wait for some time: Roth, Murakami, De Lillo, Carol Oates, of course Fuentes.
    So who could be "obscure" enough but at the same time important to get in the hands of those old Swedes and capture their antention? Probably an Estonian writer, and then Eric would go nuts.
    Now it's been two years in a row that an "eternal" candidate finally got to win the Nobel. Three years in a row? don't think so. So throw your names for "obscure" writers in here

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by kpjayan View Post
    Personally, I would like it to go to Africa , this time.
    And which African writer do you think could win?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    I still see hostility against Roth's works in the Swedish Academy
    And you know this... how? Have you been having impromptu dinner parties with them or something? Anything we should know/be concerned about, Dan?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Liam View Post
    For once we're in agreement, amigo, .
    No doubt world will end in December

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    And which African writer do you think could win?
    Well, the big name by experts and betting lists on past years has been Ngugi Wa Thiong'o. I'm sure that he will head the lists for African writers this year. Some other names to consider but that have been losing presence as time goes by are Chinua Achebe, Nuruddin Farah. It would be interesting also to consider some african names writing in Portuguese language: probably not too known worldwide but Mia Couto and Pepetela are two fine writes who should be considered.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Liam View Post
    And you know this... how? Have you been having impromptu dinner parties with them or something? Anything we should know/be concerned about, Dan?
    Pure assumptions based on Mr Engadhl's gorgeous statements a few years back (Oh how much I enjoyed it!). Now that we've lost our spy in Stockholm, we need to recruit a new Swedish guy that replaces Bjorn on those tasks.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Well, Eric lives in Sweden. But something tells me the Academy members wouldn't find him very tolerable.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Obligatory post hoping that a Canadian finally wins.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Not sure this will happen, other than as a symbolic gesture. I think Canadian literature is even "poorer" than American literature, and if Horace Engdahl is to be believed, the Yanks aren't going to win any time soon.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Throwing out a few names:

    Enrique Vila-Matas: One of my very favourite writers. An author saturated in literature. He explores the excitement and the misery of living a life too-involved with books. I don't think his novels have a particularly universal quality to them (though he is quite good at pathos), which may prevent him from winning. But I would dearly love it if he did. My eternal favourite until he either wins or dies, irrespective of my beliefs about his chances.

    Milan Kundera: I first read Kundera in my early twenties and loved him, but now I think he is somewhat lightweight. That said, his books are still very good (a fine mixture of the serious and the playful, generally against the backdrop of the Soviets/Communism), and I wouldn't be unhappy if he won, though I think there are better writers still working.

    Javier Marias: Too young, but that didn't stop Kipling (who was too young) or Camus (who wasn't). I actually kind of dislike his main trilogy (though that didn't stop me from buying it in Spanish when I went to Spain this year - trying to muddle through it), but I love his other novels. His main preoccupation seems to be the problem of communication, both with one's self and with others, often explored through the medium of translation. And he is deeply concerned with the problem of intimacy and sex in a way that appeals to grown-ups, I think (ie different to Roth or Updike, whose descriptions of body parts and actions (should) appeal to teenagers).

    Gerald Murnane: A fellow Australian. I have greatly warmed to him in recent years. He writes about solely Australian topics - the outback, etc - as well as the melancholy solitude of the writer, the difficulties of the father as a gambler/failure, and the ability for a person to be swallowed up by his own country.

    Antonio Lobo Antunes: I read Fado Alexandrino and admired it; I read The Inquisitor's Manual, which I didn't. But...Fado Alexandrino was so good, and everything I have read about him suggests he is worthy. I admit I throw his name in due to the opinion of others and not my own.

    Jean-Philipe Toussaint: Light, airy and pleasingly philosophical. I think his writing expresses an understanding of the "modern world" through its style as opposed to (say) an American predisposition towards lists and whining. Toussaint's writing travels the world without ever really feeling like it, which is kind of exactly how life is now - all the cities are the same. At the same time, his writing remains grounded in his own country, remaining French no matter where he is (again, similar: I am always Australian, no matter where I am).

    People I would have liked to win: Carlos Fuentes, Antonio Tabucchi
    People I once wanted to win but don't any more: Roth, DeLillo
    People I don't want to win at all no matter what: Franzen, Oates, Peter Carey, Ian McEwan
    My Website - book reviews and literary essays.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Damian Kelleher View Post
    People I don't want to win at all no matter what: Franzen
    If this ever happens we should all commit ritual seppuku.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Well, it's not like he actually has a shot, is it?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    You never CAN tell, with folks like Dario Fo winning.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Damian Kelleher View Post
    Throwing out a few names:

    Enrique Vila-Matas: One of my very favourite writers. An author saturated in literature. He explores the excitement and the misery of living a life too-involved with books. I don't think his novels have a particularly universal quality to them (though he is quite good at pathos), which may prevent him from winning. But I would dearly love it if he did. My eternal favourite until he either wins or dies, irrespective of my beliefs about his chances.

    Javier Marias: Too young, but that didn't stop Kipling (who was too young) or Camus (who wasn't). I actually kind of dislike his main trilogy (though that didn't stop me from buying it in Spanish when I went to Spain this year - trying to muddle through it), but I love his other novels. His main preoccupation seems to be the problem of communication, both with one's self and with others, often explored through the medium of translation. And he is deeply concerned with the problem of intimacy and sex in a way that appeals to grown-ups, I think (ie different to Roth or Updike, whose descriptions of body parts and actions (should) appeal to teenagers).
    I'm also a huge fan of Vila-Matas, a very clever post-modernist writer whose works are always flooded with literary references. He is always playing games with identities and his essay-like narrative always manages to capture me as a reader.
    For Marias, I was absolutely thrilled when I first read him with A Heart So White, but after that, none of the rest of his novels have been able to fascinate me as that first novel did. Still I think he is a very peculiar writer, not the typical Spanish writer, more like an English in most of his novels. That also applies to Vila-Matas, a very different author to what we usually have coming from Spain. Marías at 60 is not that young anymore and Vila-Matas is only three years older, so they're in good age and shape to be awarded. However, there are Españoles with a more glowing name, longer trajectory and that have been waiting for the big prize since long ago. Juan Marsé, Juan & Luis Goytisolo are the good examples of it. I prefer anyone of them winning the prize first than Vila-Matas or Marías. Hard to compare, as all of the are completely different, but I'm basic my judgement just for matters of time.

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