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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

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  1. #1
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    Default Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    It's that time of the year, again!

    9 weeks before we have this year's laureate, which I assume will be announced October 6th, 2016.

    So come on and start tossing up names as usual!
    Deus ex machina

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Wow, initially when I see this new thread I thought "well, it came early this year". But then I checked on previous years and we've started it in mid July!
    This year is going to be interesting, especially for those guys who want to predict the winner by some Swedish guys taking books out of a library

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Ok, let´s start with 4 names that would make me very happy if any of them would win (in brackets, their ages):

    Ko Un (83) - I can say he is my favorite living poet. I believe he has a very deep understanding of man and nature - more specific, man´s soul in the universe. Of course it´s hard to judge a poet we read only in translation, but even losing cadence and rhyme, I fell very affected by his words. One thing that I believe plays against him is that his work is quite long, so the Academy must have a very good translator so they could read everything Ko Un wrote. I myself have read about 150 poems by him, and that´s not even, I believe, 10% of his work. Another point I hope don´t count against him is his religiosity. A buddhist, reading his poems there are some conceptions that may be strange to western citizens. Anyway, on the plus side, another thing that must be praised is his care and strugle towards the Korean language. Eg, he is part of a group that works toward avoiding that the Korean spoken in both Koreas became too far apart. As those countries live in worlds apart, the language is changing bit by bit, so without this work they will lost the common base.

    Ngugi Wa Thiong´o (78) - They didn´t give the prize to Chinua Achebe, and they should have. And imo Ngugi is stronger than Achebe. I have read 4 books by him and he seems to me to be a great storyteller, a keeper of tradition, a defender of education and emancipation, a man with a great sense of his own history and the history of his people. Needless to say that Africa is a forgotten continent even in literature, and for me he is high above the other living African writers (that have not been awarded yet). On the negative side, his work is not constant - between Matagari and The Wizard of the Crown it has 15 years apart, and after WotC, nothing else until now (it seems a new novel will be published next year) - and even though I never read his plays, for what I´ve read about, they are weak. And the Academy must be able to judge him not only as an English writer, but also as a writer in Gikuyu. He is sometimes a bit offensive with other writers and sometimes a bit arrogant (he used to say that he should win the Nobel, and he has openly criticized African writers that write in English), but on the whole a very deserving writer.

    Ismail Kadare (80) - I haven´t enjoyed everything I have read from him, but he has a long and amazing career. And writing some lesser stories now doesn´t diminish his work and importance. He tells about many aspects of the history of mankind/eastern Europe that would be forgotten/ignored, and that´s something the Academy is found of awarding. But, like Ko Un and Ngugi, I wonder if is that case of - "if he was to win, he would have already won it". Those three writers are quite old, so... let´s say it´s almost "now or never" for them.

    Cesar Aira (67) - I love his works. And I´ll be sincere - for me he is a genius. Even his worst book is still a lot of fun, intelligent, smart. They grip me hard, always subverting what I would expect from a story. A vanguardist, someone that is showing the way to future writers. Also, a thinker - his essays about literature and art are top notch. A bit too strange, maybe, but the Academy has chosen excentric people before. Also, he is a "grower" - once read you can´t forget his words, and they become clearer and with more meaning as the time goes by.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Interesting selection Vasquez, so let's go ahead and tag each one: A Poet, an African writer, European male novelist & a Latin American writer.

    Now If I'd have to get the best candidate based on those tags here would be my selection for a "short list":


    An African writer: 100% agree with you. If an African writer has to be awarded, and it's already time since the last one was Soyinka (don't really know why), no doubt it should be him. My readings on him are limited to only one novel, but it was good enough to convince me he is a very good writer. Cannot say he's better than Achebe, but in my opinion Soyinka's Nobel should've gone to Achebe instead. Ngugi Wa Thiong'o without a doubt.

    European male novelist: I've been a fan of Kadare for years and read over 15 novels by him. Unfortunately the last one was so bad that I still have that bad taste with me. Of course he deserves it, but being over 80 does not help him at all. If it's about momentum, why not Karl Ove Knausgard? Nowadays Min Kamp has been translated to many languages, in some of them almost completely (Vol 5. in English, Vol. 4 in Spanish) and it's magnificence can be now almost fully appreciated. I think he is a good time for him, doesn't matter if he's considered too young.

    Latin American writer: Cesar Aira is kind of hyped in the English reading world right now (again not sure why), but in the world of Hispanic letters he is way below the figure of Ricardo Piglia. If we have to pick a Latin American writer instead of him we don't even need to get out of the country; Piglia is the wisest choice for it.

    A Poet: I know it won't happen, but wouldn't it be amazing to see Nicanor Parra a laureate at 102 years old? I see it impossible I'd have to stick with another perennial candidate, Adonis.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Where on earth did you get this notion that Aira is hyped in the English reading world, when only a handful of his nouvelles (out of more than 70!) have been translated? If anything Aira is much more appreciated in France and Italy. But if a Spanish language writer is hyped then that would be Piglia, the eternal lobbyist for prizes.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiffelio View Post
    Where on earth did you get this notion that Aira is hyped in the English reading world, when only a handful of his nouvelles (out of more than 70!) have been translated? If anything Aira is much more appreciated in France and Italy. But if a Spanish language writer is hyped then that would be Piglia, the eternal lobbyist for prizes.
    Because he is always in the betting lists for the Nobel and Piglia is not. On it's own, Respiración Artificial is way better than the hundred novelitas by Aira put together.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    I haven´t read Piglia or Knausgard yet, but I know that Aira himself is a great fan of Piglia. I´ll put them on my to-read list - together with Javier Marias.

    Another name in the Spanish speaking world that must me mentioned is Enrique Vila-Matas (68). But I´m not sure yet about him being a veritable Nobel candidate. Maybe for me it´s similar to you with Kadaré - a bad taste after El Mal de Montano. But even the ones I have enjoyed by him... not sure, not sure at all.
    Last edited by Vazquez; 05-Aug-2016 at 15:45.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Interesting selection Vasquez, so let's go ahead and tag each one: A Poet, an African writer, European male novelist & a Latin American writer.
    Ok let's try :

    An African writer: Ngugi Wa THIONG’O and Nuruddin FARAH are the two front runner, my outsiders : Ben OKRI, Miao COUTO and PEPETELA.

    European male novelist: Since I’ve read some of his books I have only one name to give: László KRASZNAHORKI for is amazing writing!

    Latin American writer: No idea here. I will not say the name of Mrs. Elena PONIATOWSKA, otherwise Daniel will kill me!...
    Juan Gabriel VÁSQUEZ
    is too young… Claribel ALEGRÍA too old… So, let’s say Horacio CASTELLANOS-MOYA and Carlos LISCANO!

    A Poet: Adonis and Ko UN are here the two front runner here. My choise will be the American John ASHBERY but I suppose that he’s too old now for the Nobel…
    Deus ex machina

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    My choise will be the American John ASHBERY but I suppose that he’s too old now for the Nobel…
    If we are talking about worthy American poets, what about W.S. Merwin? He is quite old though.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    Cesar Aira (67) - I love his works. And I´ll be sincere - for me he is a genius. Even his worst book is still a lot of fun, intelligent, smart. They grip me hard, always subverting what I would expect from a story. A vanguardist, someone that is showing the way to future writers. Also, a thinker - his essays about literature and art are top notch. A bit too strange, maybe, but the Academy has chosen excentric people before. Also, he is a "grower" - once read you can´t forget his words, and they become clearer and with more meaning as the time goes by.
    Probably won't get it, though, precisely for being a vanguardist or ludic writer, not quite fitting the Nobel mandate of chosing "socially committed" literature.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Wow, initially when I see this new thread I thought "well, it came early this year". But then I checked on previous years and we've started it in mid July!
    Yes on 2013 this discussion start on July 13th, on 2014 on July 21st and last year on August 3rd... So it is still time for this year!
    Deus ex machina

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg H. View Post
    BTW Vazquez, I thought of you recently. Book Depository recently sent an email featuring various works from Brazillian writers to coincide with the Rio Olympics. To my surprise, and delight, "Dirty Poem" was included.
    Ah, that is nice! I love that book.

    In my trusty book about the prize there is a session about those awarded because of one book. I will check and write here about what they say...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    Ah, that is nice! I love that book.

    In my trusty book about the prize there is a session about those awarded because of one book. I will check and write here about what they say...
    I just checked the book (written by two members of the Academy), and they did mention the authors who won mostly because of one book, but they say it has been so long time ago that we must forget about it - complete works from now on.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Which authors were those? I imagine Mommsen, some of those people in the 10s and 20s, but I'm curious.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    I'm with redheadshadz - I wonder if they regret giving the prize to any of those who won based on a reference to a single work. I also wonder if there are many authors who have won for a single work but whose citation doesn't suggest as such. But that seems like a conversation to be had in another thread, no?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by OverTheMountains View Post
    I'm with redheadshadz - I wonder if they regret giving the prize to any of those who won based on a reference to a single work. I also wonder if there are many authors who have won for a single work but whose citation doesn't suggest as such. But that seems like a conversation to be had in another thread, no?
    Apparently it only happened during the first half of the XX century. Last one was Hemingway and they only quoted "most recently demonstrated in..."
    So they didn't quote but it's a fact García Márquez was awarded for Cien Años de Soledad.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    Ah, that is nice! I love that book.

    In my trusty book about the prize there is a session about those awarded because of one book. I will check and write here about what they say...

    What's the name of the book? Thanks.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Probably The Nobel Prize in Literature: A Study of the Criteria Behind the Choices by Kjell Espmark.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    Probably The Nobel Prize in Literature: A Study of the Criteria Behind the Choices by Kjell Espmark.
    "Det Litterära Nobelpriset" from Mr. Kjell ESPMARK

    in french : "Le prix Nobel. Histoire intérieure d'une consécration littéraire." 335 pages.

    http://www.critiqueslibres.com/i.php/vcrit/15446

    Very interesting book but dated... 1985.
    The last Nobel Prize you can read the name inside in Jarsolav SEIFERT, Nobel Prize in Litearture 1984!
    Deus ex machina

  20. #20

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 Speculation

    Thanks, guys.

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