Guess the Nobel Prize for Literature

October 4, 2023 • 2:48 pm

The readers here have proven really bad at guessing who will win Nobel Prizes, with my contests involving several fields never having a winner. So I’ll make it easy for you.  Just make a SINGLE GUESS about who’s going to get the Nobel Prize for Literature this year, and put it in the comments below. You get only one try and can name only one person.

The Prize itself will be announced at noon BST tomorrow (6 a.m. Chicago time), so I’m closing the contest as of 4 a.m. Chicago time (5 a.m. US Eastern time) tomorrow, and no entries will be valid after that.

There’s got to be a winner for this one, as there are several obvious candidates. But often the Swedish Academy gives the prize to a dark horse, so don’t be so sure.

THE FIRST PERSON TO GUESS CORRECTLY WINS. This means that before you put down your guess, see if anybody else has it before you. If so, choose someone else, because you can’t win

The prize. . . . well, it’s not like winning Powerball. You can have a mint paperback copy of either Why Evolution is True or Faith Versus Fact sent to you (your choice), autographed if you wish (and to whomever you want), and with a cat drawn in it (suggestions for cats considered).

Good luck, and if nobody wins I’m going to be very disappointed.

72 thoughts on “Guess the Nobel Prize for Literature

    1. Rushdie’s certainly the betting markets’ favorite. Im’a go with longshot Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai owing to name recognition: it’s the bottom line on optometrists’ eye charts.

    2. I think this too, and wonder if Rushdie will appreciate it, thinking his suffering (and great suffering there was) weighted the scales. (Of course they did.)

      Good luck, no one ever gets this guess correct.

      1. Well, madness is more Foucault’s thing – but yeah, I wonder sometimes, if it was disrupting the norms of my mind.

  1. Damn, I was going to say Rushdie. So, I’ll say Elena Ferrante, … or rather whoever hides behind that name.

  2. I’ll go with the current frontrunner in Can Xue, since no one’s guessed her yet. Rooting for Rushdie, though.

    1. Damn, beat me to it by 10 minutes!! And 13 minutes for Murakami. Margaret Atwood also out, so…..Jon Fosse.

  3. Jerry! Karolinska does not present the literature prize: that’s the Swedish academy: (Karolinska awards the physiology/medicine prize)

    I’d like Rushdie, too, but knowing the Academy, I don’t believe they have the guts.

    Someone more typically “Swedish Academy”-ee would be, lessay, László Krasznahorkai.

    Best wishes from Stockholm.

    1. You beat me to it, but I’ve been nominating Banville, a true prose wizard, for years. But since neither of us is on the Swedish Academy, our votes don’t matter.

  4. My first three choices are already taken (the third while I was originally writing this), so I’ll go with David Mitchell (too young, I know).

    1. When my comments didn’t go through a few months back I changed my email address to a random “not real” address and my comments started going through as normal. Probably doesn’t help.

  5. Wow, first comment of mine that’s gone through in a while!
    I’d guess W.G. Sebald, but I guess he’s dead.
    Maybe Jane Gardam?

  6. I’ll go with Thomas Pynchon, just for the Hell of it. I checked, he’s still alive.
    Rushdie would be great, but I’m too late.
    I want a cat drawing.

    1. Nice Hail Mary…I haven’t met an honest fellow who actually got through “Gravity’s Rainbow,” let alone someone who liked it. I’ve tried at least three times, making it a few more chapters each time than before (probably 1/2 through)…what a useless slog. Sorry universe, Gravity’s Rainbow is a post-modern scrambled-banana-salad-sandwich. It never got better than the first short chapter.

    1. Dylan deserved it; he’s the best American lyricist. Ever. And that includes all the old cats from The Great American Songbook and Tin Pan Alley: George’s brother Ira; Richard Rodgers two partners with the “H” names, Hart and Hammerstein; Johnny Mercer; Sammy Cahn; Irving Berlin; even my own favorite from that era, Cole Porter; pick any name you want; whoever’s in second place isn’t even close.

      IMHO. 🙂

  7. Sci Fi Great Kim Stanley Robinson. Don’t think a sci fi writer has been thus heralded. ‘Bout time. He’s a brilliant climate change imaginer…the best sci-fi writers do see the future in an uncanny way…

  8. Jhumpa Lahiri
    [ largely because the Nobel committee is reputedly trying to consider more women in the wake of the Swedish Academy sex/misogyny scandal ]

    1. But she is hyper-acutely conscious of her White privilege, and surely won’t accept a gong from a bunch of White Nordic elderly folk. 

  9. Norwegian Jon Fosse won the Lit Nobel. I started A New Name a few years ago, but it was too goddy for my taste.

    1. The literature Nobel committee has a reputation for awarding the prize to obscure Scandinavian writers. This award is inline with that reputation. Note that they did give the Nobel to Ivo Andrić (“The Bridge on the Drina”). Note that he beat well known authors including Steinbeck, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Frost, Forster, etc. I have read Ivo Andrić’s work and can highly recommend him. I have read some of the other writers as well.

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