The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature will only be announced in October, but previously the Swedish Academy -- who select the winner -- had revealed that 195 eligible names were submitted for consideration, of which 48 were first-timers (se...
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature will only be announced in October, but previously the Swedish Academy -- who select the winner -- had revealed that 195 eligible names were submitted for consideration, of which 48 were first-timers (see my previous mention).
Now, as they've tweeted:
5 candidates have been selected for 2013 #NobelPrize in #Literature according to Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy.
The permanent secretary, Peter Englund, goes into a bit more detail at his weblog, Att vara ständig -- and apparently the five names have only been submitted; it's not entirely final until the last session before the summer at the end of the month.
A couple of observations here:
- No, they don't reveal the names.
Not until fifty (and a half) years from now.
In fact, they try very hard to keep them secret.
- As I've repeatedly stressed: you have to be in it to win it -- or to make the shortlist.
Which is easier said than done.
There's a lot of Nobel/Swedish Academy bashing that misses this point.
Consider, for example, Forged-author Jonathon Keats' recent Wired piece, Don't Hate Google for Reader - Award It the Nobel Prize for Books [sic].
When the Nobel Prizes launched in 1901, possible choices for the award in literature, bestowed upon a living writer to honor their entire life's work, included such historical titans as Leo Tolstoy, Edith Wharton, and Henry James.
The thing is, as a search for the 1901 nominees shows, Tolstoy, Wharton, and James were not among the names submitted to the Swedish Academy for consideration -- while eventual laureate Sully Prudhomme was nominated by three individuals (including a University of Uppsala professor), as well as a whole gang of French academicians -- i.e. he had a lot of support.
This is relevant, because easy as it is for outsiders to say authors X,Y, and Z are obviously the most deserving, someone still has to nominate them for them to (possibly) make the final cut.
So, for example, the information that this year the Swedish Academy tried to reach out to more African academics in the nominating procedure might suggest that there's a higher-than-usual chance of African names appearing in the pool the finalists were selected from.
On the other hand, less well-known writers from less widely translated languages -- especially authors not in official favor (in a lot of these countries official writers' bodies do the nominating) -- are disadvantaged.
- The only author whose nomination has widely (and controversially) been acknowledged is Paul Goma, his name submitted by the Writers' Union of Moldavia; see, for example, the Mediafax report -- and e.g. the Times of Israel report, Author accused of anti-Semitism nominated for Nobel.
(His nomination can't just be dismissed out of hand as (noxious) political posturing, either: he doesn't stand much of a chance of winning -- after Herta Müller, it's unlikely another Romanian dissident would get the prize so soon -- but he's not just some two-bit hack (and he had very good dissident cred back in the day); among his books available in English is My Childhood at the Gate of Unrest (published by Readers International); (try to) get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)
In any case, now that the list is down to a manageable five, things get more interesting.
The Swedish Academy members, who will be reading up on the finalists, will try to be careful, but it's probably pretty hard for all of them to cover their reading-tracks convincingly: it seems pretty clear, for example, that Mo Yan's name cropped up more last summer than they would have liked (which is why he found himself a betting favorite right from the start of last year's Nobel betting-season).
The fact that a finalist or two or all five are identified only gets us so much closer to the actual winner -- w
about 6 hours ago