After several years of scandals and wildcard picks, the Swedish Academy will on Thursday crown the 2020 Nobel Literature Prize laureate, with literary experts hedging their bets due to the unpredictability of the exercise.
Ahead of the announcement due at 1:00 pm betting sites like Ladbrokes and Betsson have French Guadeloupean author Maryse Conde, Canadian and Russian novelists Margaret Atwood and Lyudmila Ulitskaya, as well as Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, as the names to beat.
Speculation in Stockholm’s literary circles meanwhile covers a long list of names, including Caribbean-American author Jamaica Kincaid, Canadian poet Anne Carson, Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and Hungary’s Peter Nadas and Laszlo Krasznahorkai.
The Academy has a history of throwing curve balls with its picks — as in 2016 when it honoured US rock legend Bob Dylan.
Last year’s choice of Austrian novelist Peter Handke also unleashed a flood of criticism, leaving many wondering how it could award a writer known for supporting Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in the Balkan wars and playing down his army’s atrocities.
That pick was made even more puzzling by the fact that the literary institution was expected to avoid ruffling any feathers, as it recovered from a devastating, drawn-out scandal after the husband of one of its members was jailed for rape.
The scandal, which erupted in 2017, forced it to postpone the 2018 prize — a first in 70 years.