My picks for the 2011 Nobel: It’s pointless, but why not?

I had planned to write a long post on the Nobel Prize for Literature.  But it seems the Committee will reach a decision early this year and will announce the winner tomorrow, October 6, 2011.  So, frankly I run out of time.  I’m not that organized, as you all know.  I’ve decided to post a list instead.  I’m not going to provide a rationale for my selection.  It is what it is.

So, in no order of preference, let’s speculate:



  1. Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  2. Nuruddin Farah
  3. Ibrahim al-Koni
  4. Amos Oz
  5. Peter Nadas
  6. John Banville
  7. Margaret Atwood
  8. Assia Dejbar
  9. Elias Khoury
  10. Peter Esterhazy
  11. László Krasznahorkai
  12. Claudio Magris
  13. David Malouf
  14. Juan Goytisolo
  15. Ismail Kadare
  16. Can Xue
  17. Peter Handke
  18. Cormac McCarthy
  19. David Grossman
  20. Alice Munro
  21. Antonio Lobo Antunes
  1. Les Murray
  2. Philippe Jaccottet
  3. Yves Bonnefoy
  4. Ko Un
  5. Bei Dao
  6. Kamau Brathwaite
  7. John Ashberry
  8. Geoffrey Hill
  9. Adam Zagajewski
  10. Tadeusz Rozewicz
  11. Juan Gelman
  12. Tomas Transtromer
  13. Goran Sonnevi
  14. Samih al-Qasim
  15. Adonis
  16. Richard Wilbur

It’s a long list.  And my bias is showing; the Africans, the poets, the Polish poets, Eastern European novelists, my favorite Aussie writer, Atwood and the author who built a solid career on short stories.  I couldn’t avoid the Arab Spring and its writers.  Though, I think the Nobel folks should have awarded an Arab Nobel years ago, been too long since Naguib Mahfouz in 1988.    Now, I really don’t think that Adonis will win it.  Any suggestions for Iranian or other Middle Eastern writers? Will Philip Roth win the prize this year?  I favor the odds of an American poet over an American novelist. And there are a few older contenders on my list that the Committee will probably forever overlook. I wanted to include an Indian writer. My favorite writer of Indian descent, Rohinton Mistry, is probably too young for the prize.  Any suggestions? I’m also tempted to add AS Byatt but Doris Lessing won it 4 years ago. Colm Toibin?

The Committee needs to make amends to me 🙂 for the disastrous 2000 selection of the Chinese writer Gao Xingjian.  I mean I tried but could not read his Soul Mountain.  Award an Asian Nobel whose works I will enjoy. Murakami is a favorite though I suspect he is young(ish). A poet will be most appreciated, too.

That’s it.  Till tomorrow…



  1. It has always been difficult to predict the Nobel winner for me. Last year I did predict but… This year also, I will continue let my bias show…Your first two for the prose are my likely choices…hmmm! although i have no control over the choice of the judges.


    • You did? Gosh, I just could not get into it. Well, I’m going to try and read it again. I think highly of knowledge of Asian literature. 🙂


  2. Sure you don’t mean David grossman ? I agree on whole it is hard to predict nice see they using experts now to make it less Eurocentric according to Washington post the other day I d live some more African winners they are needed all the best stu


    • Thanks for the correction Stu. I did mean David Grossman. Vassiy is long dead. Yeah, an African Nobel would be nice but so too a Polish poet. So many good contenders, makes it fun.


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