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Nobel’s Disappointment

October 8, 2010

The winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature is someone I have never heard of. This is pretty much always the case, since I don’t read that many books and when I do, they’re hardly ever the stuff of Nobel Prizes. The exception is Tomas Tranströmer, the constant runner-up, if such a thing exists in these matters.

He is often on the list of possible winners, and since this year’s rumours hinted that 2010 would see a poet victorious, I’ve been cautiously optimistic. I wasn’t very surprised he didn’t win, though. Over the (early) years the Academy have been giving a disproportionately large number of the prizes to Swedish authors, and they might not want to be seen as returning to that rut.

I expect the regular slew of articles in today’s newspapers complaining that another old man won. It’s hard to disagree when looking at some of the favourites this year. In one paper they listed ten possible candidates, and the youngest one was around 60.

But being old may not be a requirement as much as a side effect; the winner should be someone with an “important” body of work, and that is hard to achieve without having lived for a fairly long time.

Still, would be nice to see Tranströmer win before he dies.

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