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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

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  1. #1
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    Default Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    This year there will not be an "official kickoff" for real speculation as I don't know why Ladbrokes kept open bets on the Nobel all year!
    Right now there is a list of 27 names, which indicates nothing and for sure will grow when the right time approaches (probably late August).

    Now for this year's prize let's take in consideration since Englund arrived as permanent secretary, it seems the Academy is paying their debts off:

    2010, Spanish language
    2011, A Poet and a Swedish
    2012, A Far Asian writter
    2013, Short story

    And of course, the biggest debt for this year would be with the US, but I don't see it coming; no back to back English language winners.

    So with this said, let this ride begin!

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Let's see, so what are the current outstanding "debts" for the Academy?

    The first thing that pops into my head is theater/drama. Although a few recent laureates have written plays (Lessing and Llosa, IIRC), it wasn't what they were "known for". The last actual playwright to win was Harold Pinter in 2005. Even before Pinter, none of the winners were primarily playwrights (Jelinek? Not that familiar with her reputation) going back to Dario Fo in 1997. I could see a non-English language playwright winning it, if there were a particularly prominent one. Off the top of my head, though, I don't really know who would qualify? I admit I don't read as much drama as I do novels or poetry.

    What about Muslim writers? Mahfouz is the only one that has won it, and that was a long time ago. Could Adunis win? He is probably the most revered Muslim poet and has been in the conversation for decades. I just fear he might be too old.

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    Angola Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    [QUOTE=RASimmons; What about Muslim writers? [/QUOTE]

    Maybe it will be Assia Djebar's year.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Ah, the Nobel! I really enjoy the event.

    As Daniel said, Englund, it seems, is paying some debts. The last secretary seems to prefer "witnesses" - Le Clézio, Lessing, Kertesz...

    Now, should I say Englund is not afraid to give the prize to sucessful authors? Llosa and Munro were very famous before the prize. Murakami... maybe...?

    I don't believe someone from US will win. Roth, Oates, DeLillo, McCarthy - I don't think they deserve the prize. Of course maybe there's someone I don't know that deserves, but two English writers in sucession is not probable.

    In drama I really admire Brian Friel, from Ireland, but I wouldn't bet in it. Jelinek is a very important drama writer, but it seems only her novels are famous worldwide.

    I think maybe an African writer will win. If I remember correctly, some years ago they sent some experts to North America to check the writers there, and a year or two later send those experts to Africa. As Munro won...

    From Africa I really enjoy reading Mia Couto, altough I'm not sure he is Nobel-worthy (yet). He has a lot of style, but maybe he is lacking a masterpiece.

    Now and then people talk about Ngugi Wa Thiongo. I read "The Wizard of the Crow" some years ago and I can't see anything good in it. I would be very disappointed. Other people talk about Nuruddin Farah... I read "Maps" and I disliked the book a lot, too.

    I remember that in "Elizabeth Costello" Coetzee did a criticism about African literature, and African writers, that is very agressive and poignant... I'm very unsure about them, too.
    Last edited by Vazquez; 23-Jul-2014 at 03:45.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    I have a feeling it's Africa's year. So Ngugi might finally win it, or Assia Djebar. Ngugi's edge is that he's culturally African, and writes in an African language. While Djebar is culturally Arabic, and writes in French, her edge is that if she were to win the Nobel would have its first back-to-back female winners.

    If the Academy were to go to the U.S. I think it would be Pynchon, but that's highly unlikely to happen.

    As always I'm hoping for Kundera to finally get it.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    For me it is one of these two options:

    Sub Saharan Africa: If Englund keeps on "paying debts", Africa is the next in line. Sub-Saharan Africa would be the recipient and of course, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o would be the most probable name to occupy this spot. Nuruddin Farah is another visible name but I don't see him strong enough to get it. I'd love to see a Portuguese language writer win it but I don't think Mia Couto, Pepetela, Luandino Viera, José Eduardo Agualusa, etc. stand a chace.

    Forgotten Europe: If the prize doesn't go to Europe this year, it would be only the second time in the prize history not going to Europe for three years or more (This only happened in the 90's with a surprising 5 non European laureates in a row). So why not an European country that has never been awarded with the Nobel: Ismail Kadare for Albania or Cees Nooteboom for The Netherlands.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Just some more names:

    Usually people talk about Ko Un. I read some poems from him and they seemed quite good. It would beat Mo Yan as the shortest name in Nobel history, so...

    I would be infinitely happy if Ferreira Gullar would win the prize. But maybe I think he is Nobel-worthy just because he is Brazilian and we don't have the prize. Maybe it's one of those things it's hard to be impartial. Not only, he is the last of the greatest Brazilian writers... I enjoy his poems, love some of them, altough he has just a few books - his canon is made of 8 books, and they are quite short. I believe he has written half of the poems Transtromer wrote. And his remaining works - children's literature, essays, etc. - goes from ok to abysmally bad. So, in the bottom of my heart I know he will never win (but it would be nice anyway).

    In the bunch of writers I read and I think should not win, I would add: Atwood, Pynchon, Lobo Antunes, Eco, Kadare and Nooteboom. But...

    (wow, what a negative post!).

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    I would be infinitely happy if Ferreira Gullar would win the prize. But maybe I think he is Nobel-worthy just because he is Brazilian and we don't have the prize. Maybe it's one of those things it's hard to be impartial. Not only, he is the last of the greatest Brazilian writers... I enjoy his poems, love some of them, altough he has just a few books - his canon is made of 8 books, and they are quite short. I believe he has written half of the poems Transtromer wrote. And his remaining works - children's literature, essays, etc. - goes from ok to abysmally bad. So, in the bottom of my heart I know he will never win (but it would be nice anyway).
    .
    Count me in as a fan of this man. Hard to find translations of his works, but I read Poema Sucio & Ciudades Inventadas, both in Spanish and loved them.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    I would be infinitely happy if Ferreira Gullar would win the prize. But maybe I think he is Nobel-worthy just because he is Brazilian and we don't have the prize. Maybe it's one of those things it's hard to be impartial. Not only, he is the last of the greatest Brazilian writers... I enjoy his poems, love some of them, altough he has just a few books - his canon is made of 8 books, and they are quite short. I believe he has written half of the poems Transtromer wrote. And his remaining works - children's literature, essays, etc. - goes from ok to abysmally bad. So, in the bottom of my heart I know he will never win (but it would be nice anyway).
    That would be a great choice; I loved what scarce poetry I read by him; my favourite modern poet alongside Adam Zagajewski.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    Just some more names:

    In the bunch of writers I read and I think should not win, I would add: . . . Kadare But...

    (wow, what a negative post!).
    Wholeheartedly disagree with you on Kadare.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post

    I would be infinitely happy if Ferreira Gullar would win the prize. But maybe I think he is Nobel-worthy just because he is Brazilian and we don't have the prize. Maybe it's one of those things it's hard to be impartial. Not only, he is the last of the greatest Brazilian writers... I enjoy his poems, love some of them, altough he has just a few books - his canon is made of 8 books, and they are quite short. I believe he has written half of the poems Transtromer wrote. And his remaining works - children's literature, essays, etc. - goes from ok to abysmally bad. So, in the bottom of my heart I know he will never win (but it would be nice anyway).
    C'mom, when you wrote this Ariano Suassuna was alive and Manoel de Barros still alive. Those are two great brazilian writers, so good that I hope those Nobel's crones do not try to promote themselves with Manoel.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    If I remember correctly, some years ago they sent some experts to North America to check the writers there, and a year or two later send those experts to Africa. As Munro won...
    They must have sent the intern who brings the coffee to do the checking in North America, if Alice Munro was all he found.

    The Swedish Academy urgently needs to award a heavy-weight of letters, and that means very few choices: Edward Albee, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, William H. Gass, António Lobo Antunes...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Heteronym View Post
    The Swedish Academy urgently needs to award a heavy-weight of letters, and that means very few choices: Edward Albee, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, William H. Gass, António Lobo Antunes...
    Even though I believe (hope?) that the Swedish Academy under Englund has apparently lost some of its penchant for tokenistic PC awards for deservedly obscure middlebrow chest-thumpers/peddlers of oppression pr0n/expats and victims of persecution, I still don't think they really care all that much for awarding big name, widely recognised writers.

    I think they may go for a playwright this year. No idea who. There's Fosse, and then I can only name Albee and Michael Frayn, but I'm the only one who ever mentions the latter here, so I doubt he is/was ever in contention.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Heteronym View Post
    They must have sent the intern who brings the coffee to do the checking in North America, if Alice Munro was all he found.

    The Swedish Academy urgently needs to award a heavy-weight of letters, and that means very few choices: Edward Albee, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, William H. Gass, António Lobo Antunes...
    Umberto ECO ; Peter NADAS ; ADONIS, Amos OZ, Claudio MAGRIS ; Haruki MURAKAMI ; Salman RUSHDIE ; Don DeLILLO ; Hans Magnus ENZENSBERGER ; Richrd FORD ; Nuruddin FARAH ; Isamïl KADARÉ ; Philippe JACCOTTET, Cees NOOTEBOOM, Ngugi Wa THIONG'O, Ko UN ; John ASHBERY ;etc etc...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    And of course, the biggest debt for this year would be with the US, but I don't see it coming; no back to back English language winners.
    Also, in the early 90s there was something like 4 back-to-back English winners. I don't think it will go to the US either, but don't wanna write them off completely, so here's some thoughts on English language writers:
    Among prose writers, I don't think any of the "Big 4" will win. I've heard good things about Stephen Dixon, another writer I haven't had a chance to read but desperately want to, he probably doesn't have a chance but the Academy has always embraced criminally underrated writers, so who knows. Everyone raves about Vollmann; I've read a few of his minor stuff, wasn't impressed, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and try to read something more substantial by him soon. Some might be worried that his major themes (violence and whores) will keep him out, but Camilo Cela won in '89 for exploring similar motifs, and both go about it in such a different way that I don't think Cela won Vollmann's Nobel or anything, like what I've heard about Bellow and Roth.

    If they return to England, I hope it's Ishiguro.

    As for Australia, Peter Carey has no chance. His recent books have been god awful--The Chemistry of Tears is one of the worst books I've ever read. Murnane is a great writer who would be my current pick for an Australian candidate, but it wouldn't be that big a deal if he didn't get it. Flangan I haven't read, but he seems like a strong writer. Malouf bores me, and I think if he won he would've done it ages ago. As for Tim Winton, he's young and could wait a couple of years, which is why I'm giving Murnane preference, but really Winton is amazing. Cloudstreet blew me away, one of the best contemporary English novels in my opinion, and some of his other books, like Breath, while not being as strong, are certainly no slackers. I've heard it said that he's to "light" for the prize, but I don't think that at all.

    As for English poets and playwrights...I must admit my knowledge is lacking, but I'm sure there are plenty of great ones who deserve it too.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post

    And of course, the biggest debt for this year would be with the US, but I don't see it coming; no back to back English language winners.
    Why not?...

    1989 Camilo José CELA Spanish language
    1990 Octavio PAZ... Spanisch language

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    Why not?...

    1989 Camilo José CELA Spanish language
    1990 Octavio PAZ... Spanisch language
    Ok, let's see the real possibilities for a Spanish writing author to get the Nobel.

    In my opinion, strong candidates right now are in Spain. You have plenty options to choose from, all of them with international recognition, the right age and a more than respectable corpus under their arms. Juan Goytisolo, Luis Goytisolo, Juan Marsé, Enrique Vila-Matas, Javier Marías, Antonio Muñoz Molina. Two or more from this group should win the Nobel the next 10 years.

    Latin American chances vanished after MVLL got it back in 2010 and Fuentes died in 2012, specially for prose writers. If I had to choose a novelist it would be Ricardo Piglia. I see him stronger than Cesar Aira, who I don't think his fragmented works can be truly appreciated by the Academy. Piglia is also experimental and could be considered post modernist but he knows his craft, he's always in command and Respiración Artificial is a true masterwork. Jorge Edwards would be a good choice, though I haven't read much by him. He is also from the old guard.
    Mexico is going through a generational change. Old writers alive like Fernando del Paso, Sergio Pitol and Elena Poniatowksa don't have the necessary international stature for prizes like this. The younger generation is still between their late 40-50's, and although really promissory, you still need from 10 to 20 years to see if they developed accordingly to expectations: Jorge Volpi, Ignacio Padilla, David Toscana, Álvaro Enrigue, Guadalupe Nettel, etc.

    For poetry, my two favorite perennial candidates died last year. José Emilio Pacheco & Juan Gelmán. However, if the prize goes to Latin America, it has to go to a poet, because we still have Ernesto Cardenal (89) and Nicanor Parra (99) alive, our ancient masters of poetry. Because of their age, don't see it happening.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Wow, that was a great post! Thank you for that. I'll check those authors - I don't know most of them...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Ok, let's see the real possibilities for a Spanish writing author to get the Nobel.

    In my opinion, strong candidates right now are in Spain. You have plenty options to choose from, all of them with international recognition, the right age and a more than respectable corpus under their arms. Juan Goytisolo, Luis Goytisolo, Juan Marsé, Enrique Vila-Matas, Javier Marías, Antonio Muñoz Molina. Two or more from this group should win the Nobel the next 10 years.
    Daniel, Luis Goytisolo's name seems to come up as a potential Nobel winner every year, but I've yet to see any English translations of his work. Maybe you or Bubba could take on that challenge?
    Last edited by Stevie B; 31-Jul-2014 at 08:48.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie B View Post
    Daniel, Luis Goytisolo's name seems to come up as a potential Nobel winner every year, but I've yet to see any English translations of his work. Maybe you or Bubba could take on that challenge?
    We need a real brave person to translate Goytisolo's major achievement Antagonía. For the first time ever, all four novels were published together a couple of years ago with a total of 1,120 pages.

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