annual betting odds for who might win, as it did yesterday. The list combines two of my delightfully disparate favorite things: books and betting!
Who ya got? I'm taking Philip Roth (as I have every year since about 2004) at 18:1. (If you're not familiar with how odds work, 18:1 means that if you put down a $1 bet, you win $18.) That may be a sucker bet, though. As I wrote last year, the committee seems to have decided to ignore Americans recently, and some conspiracy theorists say it's a protest of...well, a lot of things I can't get into here without going off on a political rant.
At any rate, no American has won since Toni Morrison in 1993. This year, Americans Thomas Pynchon and Joyce Carol Oates, perennial candidates for the prize, are also 18:1 odds, which as this New Yorker blog points out, is actually much longer odds than last year. (Don DeLillo, though, has improved from 25:1 last year to 22:1 this year.) A few other Americans dot the list — Maya Angelou is 25:1, Cormac McCarthy and Paul Auster are both 66:1 odds, and Bob Dylan (yes, that Bob Dylan...WTF?!) is 150:1. So, what all this really means is don't look for an American to break our 17-year prize-less drought this year.
According to Ladbrokes, the favorite (at 10:1) is a Swedish poet named Tomas Tranströmer. Are you familiar with his work? Can't say that I am. (This Guardian piece tells us a little about him and his work. Is it poetry's year?) But then again, I hadn't heard of any of the winners when they were announced the last three years. The writer with the highest odds that I've actually heard of (but still, sadly, never read) is Huraki Murakami.
The prize will be revealed about the second week in October. The exact date is always a secret until about the day before. Here's kind of a fun list of Nobel Prize in Literature facts.
So, who are you taking? Why?
(One point of clarifications: Since Ladbrokes doesn't take bets from the U.S., all this is totally just for fun.)