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Flipping through David Marr's biography of Patrick White, I came across a section detailing the Nobel prize process for him.

According to Marr, Artur Lundkvist took a seat in the academy in 68 in order help secure the prize for 3 writers: Pablo Neruda, Patrick White, and Vincente Aleixandre (also later helped Claude Simon net it and prevented Graham Greene from taking it home). This resulted in the three of them getting on to the shortlist in 69. It's unclear if White was on the short list in all years until 73, but by that year Lundkvist felt like if White didn't get it that year he never would (so I guess the academy could hypothetically move past a perennial candidate after 5 or so years). That year's shortlist was Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Nadine Gordimer. It sounds like only 4 or so academy members were able to read The Eye of the Storm before voting on the prize; I wonder how often that's happened, where not everyone can read some of a writer's works and instead just rely on the opinion of a few members (I have a feeling that definitely happened with Xingjian and Mo Yan). The runner up was Bellow, and they were actually in a deadlock before Harry Martinson decided to give it to White in order to give Australia it's first prize, confirming what we all thought and the academy denies: geography does matter.

It sounds like this information was taken from some of Lundkvist's notes and letters, so I'm inclined to believe it (though we'll have to wait a few years before it can be confirmed). I thought the shortlist was especially interesting, already considering Gordimer or Soyinka who had yet written the works they're most famous for, and thank god they didn't give it to Mailer.
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Nobel Prize 2015 · General discussion