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Nobel Prize in Literature wagers: Adonis to win, Thomas Pynchon fourth in line, Bob Dylan at 100/1 odds

By Harriet Staff

Adonis, recent winner of the Goethe Prize (and described by the Goethe jury as “the most important Arab poet of our time”) is now the front-runner for the Nobel Prize in Literature, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Jacket Copy. Their info comes from Ladbrokes, the British wagering house, which takes odds on possible Nobel literature laureates every year. Interestingly, “[t]he odds showing at Ladbrokes are not a measure of actual chances of winning, really; instead, they show which authors seem likely to readers and to bettors, who are well outside the secret Nobel decision-making process.” More:

That said, Adonis seems like a good guess.

Here are some reasons why. The poet and essayist is 81, so he has the benefit of years; his name has previously been mentioned in association with the award, leaving the impression he may have been under consideration in the past; he is a key figure in modern Arabic poetry; he was once imprisoned for his political views; he continued his support of modern Arabic poetry after leaving Syria; and in Syria, his home nation, a democratic uprising continues in what may be one of the most radical transformations following this year’s Arab Spring. A combination of artistic excellence and social justice have often played well with the Nobel committee.

Yet running not all that far behind in the Ladbrokes poll is an American writer who has had no apparent involvement in political life — no cultural involvement, even — outside of publishing his books. That’s Thomas Pynchon, who’s currently tied for fourth place.

The top authors in the running for the Nobel Prize in literature are, according to Ladbrokes:

1. Adonis – 4/1 odds

2. Thomas Tranströmer – 9/2 odds

3. Péter Nádas – 10/1 odds

4-5. Assia Djebar and Thomas Pynchon – tied at 12/1 odds

6. Ko Un – 14/1 odds

7-8. Haruki Murakami and Les Murray – tied at 16/1 odds

9. Mircea Cartarescu – 20/1 odds

10-17. Antonio Lobo Antunes, John Banville, Don Delillo, Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, K. Satchidanandan, and Colm Toibin – tied at 25/1 odds

More on who’s who at Jacket Copy. The Guardian also reports Adonis as the favorite, but gives Pynchon 10/1 odds, and notes that Bob Dylan is at 100/1. “Whether Bob Dylan, at 100/1, will clinch it for the US remains to be seen. ‘Whilst we expect Dylan to have his backers it would represent a major shock and a costly one for us if he walked away with the prize,'” said a Ladbrokes spokesman.

Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, September 29th, 2011 by Harriet Staff.