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Viewing Single Post From: Nobel Prize 2012

this, well. took out winner and dead people.

OK let's be systematic. Here's a different way to break the contenders down. 1 Laureate a year is really too few, I got really OCD about concretely visualizing my personal canon so I made my own list and eventually had to expand it to more like 3 a year and give quotas for different languages-of-origin (give one to someone writing in English every three years, give one to someone writing in Spanish every 3 years, a French-language writer every 3 years, a German-language writer every 3 years, a Russian- or other Slavic-language writer every 3 years, a Greek/Hebrew/Arabic/Eastern/etc writer every 3 years, and a Portuguese/Italian/Hungarian/other European language writer every 3 years).

That said, I think the major candidates to actually win, among living writers, are or should be:

French-language writers:
Poets- Either Jaccottet or Bonnefoy, both really major figures and really deserving and really old. (Btw anyone think Jaccottet's influenced Handke's prose of the last few decades? I read some theory about this a while ago.)
Prose writers- None will win. Guyotat too avant-garde. Pierre Michon's output maybe too small. Houellebecq too controversial. Volodine probably carries too much "genre baggage," not even previous awards for the Committee. Maybe Pascal Quignard gets a look one day. Actually, there are two with a shot right now: Assia Djebar and Aamin Malouf. Haven't read either, though.
Non-fiction/other- Cixous would be a great choice. Wonder if they'd consider Rene Girard?

English-language writers:
Poets-Ashbery and Hill are the leading contenders. Hill is a living classic and Ashbery would be a "non-political" way of giving it to an American. Kamau Brathwaite would not be a non-political choice but has a shot. Paul Muldoon has a shot and would be deserving for his earlier output although the last few books weren't as great. I have a soft spot for (85-year-old) Christopher Logue but he has no shot.
Prose writers- There are of course the four elephants in the room, Pynchon, Roth, McCarthy, and DeLillo. I have to think they'd have given it to Roth or DeLillo already if they wanted to, while Cormac perhaps carries too much pop culture baggage after the movies of his disappointing recent books and Pynchon is too avant-garde, plus he'd either no-show or mock the prize.
From the UK: Hollinghurst hasn't written enough yet (new book just his 5th). Banville would be a great choice, genius stylist and many great books.
Others...Chinua Achebe? but I think Thiongo or Nuruddin Farah will get it instead, either now or soon (Ayi Kwei Armah's output perhaps too low? The African writer I'd have most like to see honored died too young- Christopher Okigbo).
Non-fiction/other- None will win, but John Berger would be an intriguing choice- you guys find him deserving? Stoppard is a very good playwright but sort of a lightweight compared to the true greats like Beckett and Pinter and Genet. Zizek would give a fun Lecture but too lightweight. Maybe Judith Butler one day??

Poets- Several possibilities but I doubt any ever get it. IMO the leading contender is Clara Janes. Others- Juan Gelman, Antonio Gamoneda, Jose Emilio Pacheco, Rosenmann-Taub. Ernesto Cardenal perhaps? Parra probably too avant-garde.
Prose-Not this year, but there must be more to come for such a distinguished group, right? Javier Marias is a living classic and still relatively young. Daniel Sada is still young. Goytisolo getting old, maybe too avant-garde stylistically. Fuentes probably missed out when they chose MVL, but hey, they gave it to Gordimer and then Coetzee. Del Paso would be a great choice but his output is sort of low. Laiseca too much "genre baggage"? Mutis and Marse getting old, no shot. I think Munoz Molina could have a shot in the future but wouldn't be a great choice. The intriguing choice here would be the Catalan writer Miquel de Palol.
Non-fiction/other- Not this year but Eduardo Galeano has a great shot in my opinion (personally I wouldn't pick him but he'd be deserving). Arrabal perhaps, but I seriously doubt they ever pick him.

German-language (I obviously defer to Marcel here but this is who I think has a shot):
Poetry-I doubt they give it to him, but Volker Braun.
Prose- Handke is the elephant in the room who can't get it because of politics although widely recognized as one of the great authors of the past few decades. I'd say that leaves 85-year-old Siegried Lenz the front-runner. Patrick Roth is youngish and could have a shot, plus it would be HILARIOUS if someone named Roth won the prize while Philip was still alive, just imagine the US media. I bet Jirgl proves too avant-garde for the Committee but maybe I'll be wrong.
Non-fiction/other-Let's put Enzensberger in this category as the overall front-runner along with Lenz although after 2 of the last 7, and 3 of the last 12, winners being German-language writers I foresee no more winners who write in German for a little while.

Russian-/Polish-/Czech-/other Slavic-language:
Poetry- Zagajewski is a strong contender but the next poet won't be a Pole, so he'll have to wait for a real shot (he's only 65 though). By the way Tadeusz Rozewicz is still alive at age 90 right now.
Prose-They seem to have skipped a whole generation of Russian writers. The only one I think still has a shot is Voinovich, and he's 79. Sokolov too little output, Andrei Bitov (74), Makanin (73) are still possible but I strongly doubt it. Sorokin too avant-garde, Pelevin too lightweight, Petrushevskaya too much "pop culture baggage." Tatyana Tolstaya I doubt, they don't want to talk all over again about how they didn't give Leo the prize. Shishkin too young still, not enough output.
Among non-Russian writers, you'd think they would've already given it to Kundera if they were going to (although we've thought that before with Pinter, Lessing...but still). Albahari hasn't received enough other prizes. Mysliwski has a shot but he's 79 so it has to be soon. Tokarczuk has a great shot in future but still too young, barely 50.
Non-fiction/other- Havel is a strong contender.

Portuguese/Italian/Hungarian/other European languages:
Poetry- personally I think Goran Sonnevi has a good shot. Ferenc Juhasz is pretty old but has an outside shot. Salamun's younger but I doubt i.
Prose-Peter Nadas and Laszlo Krasznahorkai are two strong contenders, two geniuses..I guess Nadas is likelier to be picked at this point because he's received more prizes? Claudio Magris has a great shot. Lobo Antunes. Peter Esterhazy has a real shot. Nooteboom. Gudbergur Bergsson I doubt...Adam Bodor and Gyorgy Spiro outside shots, not high-profile enough. Eugenio Corti is still around at age 90 but they'd have given it to him already. Peter Hoeg too young at 54, same for Knausgard, same for Cartarescu but he's one for the future.
Non-fiction/other- Let's put Eco in this category but I doubt he ever gets it. Agamben with an outside shot, or perhaps even Roberto Calasso or Carlo Ginzburg?

Greek/Hebrew/Arabic/Eastern languages:
Poetry- Bei Dao is a very strong contender and wld be a great pick. I guess Ko Un has a shot too, esp with no previous Korean winners, but I wouldn't pick him. Adonis has a strong chance but it has to be soon, he's 81. Aharon Shabtai outside shot? But they should've picked Amichai or Dan Pagis
Prose-They have to pick one of these Israelis at some point, right? I'd say either Oz or Grossman, Yehoshua or Appelfeld also have legitimate shots. Elias Khoury has a strong shot, still relatively young. Ibrahim Nasrallah outside shot. Murakami...who knows really. I'd bet against it, though, perhaps too "pop" for the Committee plus he really doesn't need the sales bump. I think Hwang Sok-yong has a better shot actually and that he'll get it rather than Ko Un.
Non-fiction/other- Liao Yiwu is only 53, difficult to see him getting it before Bei Dao but I think he has a real shot in future.
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Nobel Prize 2012 · General discussion