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Funhouse
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Didi
Sep 19 2017, 08:38 PM
yes agree with your points

I do think there is only one author from Australia who stands a true chance of winning when factoring in only what the Academy may be thinking and that is Murnane

although not this year

edit- Funhouse may provide a better perspective than me (esp on Flanagan), his knowledge/appreciation of Australian lit far exceeds mine.
Oooh, lots of talk of Australian writers...

I agree that almost certainly if it's going to be an Australian writer it'll be Murnane. Which would be a nice congruence of some assholes entitling someone that I actually really like (sub-pet!).

As for the others, I do see Les Murray as a legitimate contender (still), although they'd better hurry up as he's perpetually in ill health I believe.

Richard Flanagan is interesting. He's written one book that I think is terrible (The Unknown Terrorist), but he's coming off the Man Booker win for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which could be considered his magnum opus. But I think the Booker win could actually work against him and although I actually was impressed with that novel it attracted some withering reviews as well as all the positive attention. He's got a new memoir coming out that I haven't yet read but that apparently plays with the form. I think that he's a contender but maybe not quite yet. His political involvement and the main thrust of his novels means he fits the "ideal direction" element very well.

David Malouf is someone I've mentioned in previous years. He writes poetry and essays as well as novels. He writes a mix of very local Australian material as well as more internationally oriented work like An Imaginary Life and Ransom. I think he's a beautiful writer and, Murnane aside, the best stylist of all of them. He'd be a more than worthy recipient.

I met Tim Winton last year and he's a really lovely guy who writes stuff that I like, but I don't really see him as a Nobel contender (although neither did I see fucking Dylan as one, so what the hell do I know).

I've read all of Peter Carey's recent stuff and I do think he's an excellent stylist, but yeah, I do think it hasn't maintained the standard of his earlier work. He hasn't dropped off as precipitously as someone like Rushdie, mind you. Another really great novel could put him back on the radar; he does have an impressive back catalogue.

Kim Scott has a new novel out, which is only his third, but I'd be pencilling him in for ten years time for sure.

Murray Bail, I don't think so. I've been meaning to read Brian Castro for years but haven't got around to it. He seems intriguing, but I think he's probably too obscure. Thomas Shapcott is an interesting suggestion but again I haven't really read much of his. He's a relative of one of my colleagues and I believe he's also in ill health and may not have much longer.

I haven't mentioned any women yet. Shirley Hazzard would have been a contender but as mentioned is no longer with us. Kate Grenville has something of an international profile, but I've been teaching The Secret River for a couple of years and I've really been seeing how thin it is. Someone like Sonya Hartnett, whom I really admire as a writer, probably wouldn't be taken seriously for the Nobel as she's been tarred by the YA label.

Probably the best chance amongst Australian women is Helen Garner who again would be a worthy choice. Her mix of novels and non-fiction makes her somewhat interesting as well.
Edited by Funhouse, Sep 20 2017, 07:43 PM.
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Nobel Prize 2017 · General discussion