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August 24, 2012

Haruki Murakami leads race for Nobel prize for literature

Big outside Japan … Haruki Murakami has been installed as favourite for the 2012 Nobel prize for literature. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

Ladbrokes gives Japanese novelist odds of 10/1, ahead of Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom and Mo Yan of China on 12/1.

By Alison Flood

The Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has emerged as the early favourite to win this year’s Nobel prize for literature.

The acclaimed author of titles including Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and, most recently, IQ84, Murakami has been given odds of 10/1 to win the Nobel by Ladbrokes.

Last year the eventual winner of the award, the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, was the betting firm’s second favourite to take the prize, given initial odds of 9/2 behind the Syrian poet Adonis, at 4/1. This year Adonis has slipped down the list, given odds of 14/1 alongside the Korean poet Ko Un and the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare.

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October 6, 2011

Nobel prize odds a-changin’ for Bob Dylan

Nobel prize for lyrics? Bob Dylan performing in China earlier this year. Photograph: Yan Bing/EPA

Late surge in betting sees singer-songwriter’s price shorten from 100/1 to 10/1 to win literature’s highest honour.

By Alison Flood

A late gamble on Bob Dylan has sent the singer-songwriter soaring up the odds to become the fourth favourite to win the Nobel prize for literature on Thursday.

Ladbrokes said this morning that the unlikely contender’s odds of landing the world’s most prestigious literary award had tumbled from 100/1 to 10/1 over the last 24 hours following “a substantial gamble from clued-up literary fans”. Dylan sits behind favourite Adonis, the Syrian poet, at 4/1, Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer at 7/1 and Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami at 8/1.

For some years, Dylan has made a showing as an outside contender at the bookmaker’s. And it is not the first literary prize he has been in contention for – nor even the first this week.

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Eastern writers in buzz for Nobel literature prize


Is it time for the Nobel Prize in literature to come from the east?

After last year’s South American win and years of European dominance, many experts expect the Swedish Academy to do just that when it announces this year’s winner on Thursday.

Many of the big names in Asian and Middle Eastern literature, including South Korean poet Ko Un and Syria’s Adonis, have been mentioned as possible candidates for years, but still haven’t received the prestigious, 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) award. The same goes for Algerian poet Assia Djebar and Israeli author Amos Oz.

“I know the academy doesn’t think in this way, but I still feel it would be timely to give the prize to a Syrian poet during this period of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Maria Schottenius, a literature expert at the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. She has Adonis as her top bet and Oz as her second favorite.

Goran Sommardal, a culture critic at Swedish radio, said he hopes the Chinese female avant-garde author Can Xue or Chinese poet Bei Dao wins the award.

The jurors at the Swedish Academy don’t give any hints of who will win the prize, but Permanent Secretary Peter Englund says the secretive academy has started to work actively to broaden its scope beyond Europe and the English-speaking world.

In the past two years the academy has boosted to between 10 and 15 the number of freelance experts proposing works in languages that jury members haven’t mastered, he told the Associated Press.

Europeans have won seven of the last 10 prizes and the Swedish Academy has previously been criticized for ignoring writers from other parts of the world. more

September 28, 2011

Adonis declared Nobel prize for literature favourite

Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Asbar) visiting the Frankfurt book fair in 2004. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

Celebrated Arab poet given odds of 4/1 by Ladbrokes.

By Alison Flood

After winning Germany’s major award the Goethe prize earlier this year, Syrian poet Adonis has emerged as the frontrunner to be crowned Nobel literature laureate next month.

Ladbrokes has made the 81-year-old, described as “the most important Arab poet of our time” by the Goethe jury, its 4/1 favourite to win this year’s Nobel prize for literature, ahead of another octogenarian poet, the 80-year-old Swede Tomas Tranströmer, at 9/2. “Adonis has been a permanent fixture on the shortlist in the past and the odds suggest this could be his year,” said spokesman Alex Donohue.

Last year the betting firm backed Tranströmer to win the Nobel, but the 18-member Nobel Academy plumped for Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa instead. “After hitting the woodwork last year we think Tranströmer has a superb chance of atoning for defeat,” said Donohue.

The reclusive American writer Thomas Pynchon is at 10/1 at Ladbrokes, with perennial contenders the Algerian novelist Assia Djebar (12/1), Korean poet Ko Un (14/1), Australian poet Les Murray (16/1) and Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami (16/1) also frontrunners for the betting firm. The top 10 is completed by three new names in the running: Hungarian writer Peter Nadas at 12/1, Nepali poet Rajendra Bhandari and Indian poet K Satchidanandan, both at 20/1, with Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu another new entry in 11th place. more

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