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Nobel Prize 2013; Let the madness begin!
Topic Started: Jul 19 2013, 12:35 AM (8,613 Views)
Heteronym
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Bjorn
Oct 8 2013, 04:00 AM
Also, this hilarious op-ed that argues that the Nobel "is supposed to be bigger than that, a recognition of greatness that knows no boundaries" and therefore must go to Americans regularly.
But it must, it must, the Booker has bowed down to its superiority already...

After 20 years, an American is long overdue; I'd love to see Edward Albee getting it.
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DDR
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Aleksijevitj now 6/1 + Englund announcing on his blog they already have a winner makes a very powerful combo that makes me think we already have a winner. Leaks again.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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Peter Higgs; i'm chuffed to bits
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Bjorn
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DDR
Oct 8 2013, 11:15 AM
Aleksijevitj now 6/1 + Englund announcing on his blog they already have a winner makes a very powerful combo that makes me think we already have a winner. Leaks again.
Maybe, though they wouldn't have announced a date for the announcement if they didn't already have a winner, so Englund's blog post doesn't really make a difference. (Didn't Dylan's odds drop like that this time last year?) But like I said, I'd be delighted. We don't have an Alexievich thread, do we? Maybe I should start one.

ETA: An awful lot of Swedish journalists have her as the favourite, though, so... cause or effect?
Edited by Bjorn, Oct 8 2013, 12:02 PM.
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Bjorn
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Oct 8 2013, 11:27 AM
Peter Higgs; i'm chuffed to bits
Same here. And I love that he's chosen to keep a low profile and not be bombarded with interview requests. One newspaper over here managed to get a hold of the colleague keeping tabs on Higgs' e-mail account and asked him how to get in touch with Higgs; the answer was something along the lines of "You can't. No, I'm pretty sure he doesn't have another e-mail account. We tried showing him how to use a PC a few years ago, I think his grandkids have it now." Physics unplugged!
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suzannahhh
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Oct 8 2013, 11:27 AM
Peter Higgs; i'm chuffed to bits
O ME TOO!!!!!
for Higgs is a bosom buddy boson
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Bjorn
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Bjorn
Oct 8 2013, 03:55 AM
Then again, it could also be that a few gamblers have looked at who's gotten good reviews lately and decided to throw a few bucks at the name they didn't recognize. Until Ladbrokes reveal just how much money is actually bet on this thing, I'll choose to believe that any bet over, say, $10 will shift a candidate's odds.
Well, I wasn't off by much.

Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter investigates the Nobel odds. Turns out Ngugi's massive drop back in September was caused entirely by one single bet - by the journalist writing the article. The size of the bet? 200 kronor - about US$31.
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Immediately after my bet Ladbrokes stops play, which is noticed by The Atlantic, who write a long speculative article - "Is it Ngugi wa Thiong'o's turn this year?" - based on Ladbrokes' press relations manager Alex Donohue saying they've received a large bet from a customer in Sweden.

(...)

"It's a snowball effect," Donohue explains on the phone from London, "when Ngugi wa Thiong'o is written about, more people bet on him and we we have to lower the odds to make even."
That Swedish customer...
"Yes," says Donohue.
That was me.
"Oh, it was you, was it. Terrific," he says dryly.


He also visits another betting firm, Unibet (the ones who kept insisting Chinua Achebe was in with a shot up until mid-September 2013).
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I ask him if I can place a bet on someone who's not on their lists - which Unibet's customer service had denied the day before - and he asks if I have a specific name in mind. Svetlana Alexievich, I say, and he writes it down.
Who do you want to see win?
"Bob Dylan would be fun. Or Paul Auster."
But he's not even on your lists.
"I'll have to add him when I add that Alexievich woman."
An hour after the interview, two names are added to Unibet's list: Svetlana Alexievich and Paul Auster, at 10 and 30 to 1, respectively. An hour later they're at 9 and 10. By Monday, when the Swedish Academy announce that the Prize will be announced the next Thursday, Alexievich is second on Unibet's list at 6 to 1 and is mentioned as a favourite in an article by Swedish news agency TT. At the same time, she shows up at Ladbrokes, at 51 to 1. By the evening, the odds have dropped to 12 at Ladbrokes and 5 at Unibet.


Other findings:
- The master list used by Ladbrokes, and copied by everyone else, was put together in the mid-00s by a small group of employees interested in literature with the help of "some external experts" - ie they phoned up a few journalists and asked about their favourites. The same list is still used today, with a few modifications.
- "Significant" bets are anything over about £10, especially if they come from Sweden. Ladbrokes deny that they google the name of the person placing the bet, but the former Scandinavian head of Ladbrokes who came up with the idea of betting on the Nobel in the first place says that of course they do.
- Englund is mostly jaded about the whole thing "though I'd rather answer questions about literature than about odds and betting companies". He denies that they've demanded to go through Ladbrokes' computers to find traces of leaks.
- Everyone still agrees that le Clézio was a genuine leak, probably originating somewhere in Mauritius - specifically, a block from the office where le Clézio's sister works. Tranströmer is more fuzzy; Ladbrokes say there probably was a leak, Englund blames a flurry of last-minute bets caused by Ladbrokes telling people on Twitter there was a flurry of last-minute bets.
- The total amount bet on the Prize is somewhere around 600K kronor - "the same as an average Swedish football game."
- Ladbrokes maintain this is a good way to make the discussions about the Nobel accessible to the general public. An unnamed source is more blunt: "It gives lazy journalists something to relate to, so they can have an opinion and use our research."
Edited by Bjorn, Oct 9 2013, 01:51 AM.
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Cleanthes
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One little anecdote about an old Nobel Prize winner, taken from here.

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It is also a well-known story that after his death in 1958, Pauli was granted an audience with God. Pauli was allowed to ask a question. So he asked why the fine structure constant was equal to 1/137.036... God started to write equations on the blackboard and Pauli was satisfied for a while. However, he soon started to shake his head violently: "Das ist ganz falsch!


And by the way, they stiffed Jeffrey Goldstone out of his third of this year's prize.
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suzannahhh
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13 hours and change
til we can elate or grumble . .
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mandm
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I've only read books by 35 of the 109 winners...
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Elie
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Alice Munro!

*potters over to Amazon*
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John Gargo
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That's funny, I almost picked up one of her short story collections yesterday. :)
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miercuri
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Yup!
This eliminates Atwood's chances though, doesn't it?
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Funhouse
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I'm happy about Alice Munro. She was one of my picks upthread. And yes, as with Elie I shall celebrate by reading more of her work (which I had planned to do soon anyway).
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Elie
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miercuri
Oct 10 2013, 06:04 AM
Yup!
This eliminates Atwood's chances though, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, probably.
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John Gargo
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Also only the second Nobel Prize for a Canadian author aside from Saul Bellow... I wonder if the Roth/McCarthy/Dylan whining will be somewhat muted this year because the prize went to a North American, although I doubt it.
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Elie
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Funhouse
Oct 10 2013, 06:05 AM
I'm happy about Alice Munro. She was one of my picks upthread. And yes, as with Elie I shall celebrate by reading more of her work (which I had planned to do soon anyway).
I'm celebrating by reading her for the first time! Been meaning to for years, but there's a massive TBR pile in the way..
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Bjorn
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Elie
Oct 10 2013, 06:14 AM
Funhouse
Oct 10 2013, 06:05 AM
I'm happy about Alice Munro. She was one of my picks upthread. And yes, as with Elie I shall celebrate by reading more of her work (which I had planned to do soon anyway).
I'm celebrating by reading her for the first time! Been meaning to for years, but there's a massive TBR pile in the way..
Same here. Good to finally have a reason. Fun choice!
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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Me too, definitely
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Cleanthes
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A well deserved reward to a long and successful career.

Last year some of us at that other literary forum were rooting for a shared Nobel prize for Munro and Trevor to honor the best current practitioners of the English language short story. Well, we got half our wish this year!

For those who may be interested to know where to start with Alice Munro, let me recommend the following 3 short stories, Vandals and the title stories of The love of a good woman and Hateship, frienship, etc.
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