Readersforum's Blog

September 25, 2012

Handicapping the Nobel Prize in Lit: Philip Roth vs. E.L. James?

By Greg Zimmerman

Let it not be said that the folks at Ladbrokes don’t have a sense of humor. There, at the end of their annual list of  Nobel Prize in Literature odds, sits E.L. James at 500/1. For you non-degenerate gamblers, 500/1 means if you bet $1, and E.L. James wins, you win $500. But you’d have to collect your winnings whilst dodging swarms of locusts, waves of fire and other signs of the apocalypse. So that would suck.

And but, we’re only a few weeks out from the announcement of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature (it’ll be announced some time the week of Oct. 8), or as I like to call it, “Countdown to Philip Roth Getting Hosed Again.” This year, Mr. Roth stands at a fairly respectable 16/1 shot. Last year, Roth was a 25/1 shot, so he’s improving.

If you don’t know much about the Nobel Prize in Literature, here’s the one line you can use at your next cocktail party, “I strongly believe the Nobel committee judges American writers unfairly due to American imperialism in the Bush years.” And then stand back and watch people try to decide if you’re being sarcastic or not. It’s good times.

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September 21, 2012

Bob Dylan’s Nobel odds rise, but not his chances

A flurry of hefty bets has made the singer second favourite for the literature prize, but experts consider his real prospects vanishingly small.

By Alison Flood

A flurry of £100 bets on Bob Dylan has seen the singer-songwriter leapfrog over the likes of Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy to become the second favourite to win the Nobel prize for literature this autumn.

Dylan is now at 10/1 to win the award, with only the cult Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami in a better position with odds of 7/1, according to Ladbrokes. “[Dylan has] been backed from 33/1 into 10/1 thanks to some decent £100-plus bets … One of the big bets comes from Norway, the others are UK-based,” said the betting firm’s spokesman Alex Donohue, who revealed that the average stake on Dylan to win the Nobel was around £40, “high for this market when most people tend to have a tenner on their selection”.

As well as his musical output, Dylan is the author of a legendarily incoherent prose and poetry collection Tarantula (1971) and was the subject of a reverent work of literary criticism by former Oxford Professor of Poetry Christopher Ricks. His literary stock rose with his acclaimed 2004 memoir Chronicles and recently revealed that he is working on a sequel. Quite apart from Swedish Academy member Horace Engdahl’s professed hostility to “parochial” American writing, this seems unlikely to bring him to the head of the queue for literature’s most prestigious award.

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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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October 4, 2011

Nobel prize for literature: place your bets

Assia Djebar, currently 12/1 at Ladbrokes. Photograph: Frank Rumpenhorst/AP

Days away from the announcement of the biggest prize in books, let the learned speculation begin.

By Richard Lea

Here in London it may still feel like it’s summer, but autumn begins in earnest this week, with the announcement of the Nobel prize for literature. The Swedish Academy has announced that special pleading, prediction and speculation will come to an end at lunchtime this Thursday.

So is it finally Philp Roth’s turn? The much-touted Syrian poet Adonis sits atop the betting at 4/1, with last year’s favourite, the Swedish poet Thomas Tranströmer, following at 11/2. The Hungarian novelist Péter Nádas comes next, with the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami close behind – both seem to have important books out this year in Swedish translation. As I write, Philip Roth languishes at 25/1.

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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.

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July 28, 2011

Trade picks Man Booker frontrunners

28.07.11 | Katie Allen, Charlotte Williams and Philip Stone

Click to buy

Julian Barnes, Sebastian Barry and bookies favourite Alan Hollinghurst are seen by the trade as the Man Booker Prize for Fiction frontrunners after the longlist was revealed on Tuesday (26th July).

The indie-heavy list has attracted general approval, with nine out of the 13 titles from independent houses contending for the £50,000 prize. Bookmaker William Hill predicted Alan Hollinghurst to win for a second time with The Stranger’s Child (Picador), offering odds of 5/1.

Ladbrokes yesterday (27th July) installed D J Taylor as its 4/1 favourite for Derby Day (Chatto). Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English (Bloomsbury) is second favourite at 5/1 with Hollinghurst third at 6/1 along with Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape).

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July 1, 2011

Nobel Prize speculation (already ?!?)

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 4:25 pm

True, there are only roughly 100 days left until they announce who gets the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature, but it’s pretty early in the season for the rumor mills to be spinning — and for the bookies to be taking bets.
Ladbrokes have done well with their Nobel-list the past few years — at least publicity-wise — and several other gaming shops have apparently caught on, so while Ladbrokes are biding their time (or were caught napping) and don’t offer odds yet, at least three shops do. NicerOdds.co.uk usefully (if not accurately …) collect and compare the odds, but you’re better off checking them individually yourself. [via.]

Not surprisingly, most of the odds resemble the closing odds for the 2010 prize, but there are big differences, so punters are advised to compare odds before placing their bets.

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