Who will succeed the American poet Louise Glück? Like every year, the forecasts are going well. The Japanese Haruki Murakami and the French Annie Ernaux are popular with bookmakers.
Who will succeed the American poet Louise Glück at the Nobel Prize for Literature? For the punters, everything will be decided between the Japanese Haruki Murakami, whom they place in pole position, the Canadian Anne Carson (but two poets in a row, it is not very credible), the Russian Ludmila Oulitskaïa and the French Annie Ernaux .
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Finalist in 2019 of the Man Booker International, the author of A woman and of Girl memory has all its chances as the Swedish jurors appreciate the authors of the hexagon. After Le Clézio in 2008 and Modiano in 2014, the pass of three with Ernaux? The other French-language authors approached by bookmakers are Maryse Condé, winner of the alternative Nobel Prize in 2018, Hélène Cixous, poet, essayist, playwright and a certain Michel Houellebecq, whose status as the most read French author, translated in the world, is a definite advantage.
Apart from Annie Ernaux, in the “ladies” section, the jury can also choose the Canadian Margaret Atwood or the American Joyce Carol Oates. Will the latter finally win or will she be a victim of the Philip Roth syndrome, a hundred times announced, a hundred times failed? A priori, the composition of the Swedish jury having changed a lot in recent years because of multiple scandals, the “anti-Americans” should not be very numerous. It also opens the doors to indisputable writers like Don DeLillo or Cormac McCarthy.
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Africa, the poor relation of the prize list
The most crowned continents being Europe and America, the Swedish Academy could be tempted to rebalance a little bit its prize list. In Asia, the last Japanese, if we put aside Kazuo Ishiguro, of English nationality, was Kenzaburo Oé in 1994!
Africa is the poor relation of the list. If South Africa has placed two authors in the space of twelve years, Nadine Gordimer in 1991 and JMCoetzee in 2003, Egypt and Nigeria have only one with respectively Naguib Mahfouz, in 1988, and Wole Soyinka, in 1986. It was not a long time. The continent’s best hope will be Mozambican Mia Couto, whose language is Portuguese. Which reminds us that the last crowned Portuguese writer, José Saramago, was crowned in 1998 and that the immense Antonio Lobo Antunes, is still waiting!
On the outsiders side, note the presence of Stephen King, winner in 2001 of the prestigious National Book Award for his entire career. And that, for the first time, of Patti Smith, also winner of the National Book Award in 2010 for Just kids. Since then, the singer has continued to successfully publish non-fiction books. You could say that compared to Bob Dylan, the writer of the two is her, not him. A comment that also applied until his death to Leonard Cohen, author of several novels and collections of poetry. For the record, we remember that in 2016 it is the singer poet of Because the night and of Horses that the cranky Dylan had commissioned to read his speech. She spotted the place!
Read alsoBob Dylan: a Nobel speech like no other
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Nobel Prize for Literature: Annie Ernaux after Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio and Patrick Modiano?