Poetry News

Nobel Prize for Literature Odds in Murakami's Favor, Poets Ko Un & Adonis in Running

By Harriet Staff


The Guardian has got the odds on the Nobel Prize for Literature, which should be announced in about 29 days; it looks like Haruki Murakami is the favorite, with 3-1 odds. Syrian poet Adonis is also in the running again (14-1), as is South Korean poet Ko Un (10-1). More:

Murakami has been considered a frontrunner for the past 10 years. His emergence as favourite this time round comes as his latest novel – the title of which translates as Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of PilgrimageO – is being translated into English ahead of publication in 2014.

The Nobel prize for literature is awarded each October, in accordance with the wishes written in Alfred Nobel's will, to "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". The precise date is kept vague until the last minute; on Wednesday, the Nobel website said only that it was a minimum of 29 days off. The 2013 prize is worth 8m Swedish kronor (£780,000).

Though the Nobel administration prides itself on being inscrutable, it has experimented with a little light leaking. In May, it tantalisingly tweeted: "5 candidates have been selected for 2013 #NobelPrize in #Literature according to Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy," provoking a flurry of speculation as to whether this could be America's year, with Philip Roth and Don DeLillo floated as possible recipients.

Ladbrokes is running with Murakami, but the firm has got it wrong before. In 2011, a run of bets prompted it to slash odds on Bob Dylan from 100-1 to 10-1 24 hours preceding the announcement of the winner. That year, Adonis was a 6-1 favourite, followed by Murakami (8-1) and the eventual winner, Tranströmer (10-1).

Last year, the prize went to Mo Yan, who became the first Chinese writer to win it, at odds of 9-1. Since 1901, a total of 109 individuals have won the Noble prize for literature, 12 of them women.

Originally Published: September 5th, 2013