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The Nobel Prize > 2016 Nobel Prize

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message 1: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1858 comments Mod
There are some great places to look for discussion about potential Nobel Prize winners, but if there's some appetite here we'd better have a thread for it!

The announcement is around three months away . . .

message 2: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments When was the last time it went to an author that had barely been mentioned in connection with the prize?

For instance, Alexievich isn't generally well known, but she was in lists of contenders for at least a couple of years before.

A betting aggregation site currently has the following list:
Haruki Murakami
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Joyce Carol Oates
Philip Roth
Ismail Kadare
Jon Fosse
Peter Handke
Amos Oz
Péter Nádas
John Banville
Ko Un

I would tend to think Murakami & Banville don't have the right sort of cultural weightiness the recent winners have.
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Ismail Kadaré and Jon Fosse feel the most "overdue" - or maybe I've just heard more people saying they should receive it.
One of my GR friends is a huge fan of Peter Nadas and his descriptions of Nadas' books make him sound like a Nobel kind of author.
I know almost nothing about Ko Un and Adunis.

The Neustadt went this year to another author who's sometimes mentioned in connection with the Nobel Dubravka Ugrešić (the acclaim for her essays still mystifies me after reading two volumes) .

I do like Pynchon so would be happy to see him receive it - but he already has a lot of recognition in terms of audience, more so than many of the authors from outside N America & W Europe, who could do with more attention.

Some Goodreads members made this list with some kind of points-based betting system last year. Several of the authors on there seem too young, but if they continue as they are, they would seem like good prospects in a decade or more.
And Rushdie seems like much too divisive a choice in terms of current geopolitics & religion.

message 3: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1858 comments Mod
Sadly Péter Esterházy died today. It is rumored he has been nominated several times, but the Nobel does not award posthumously so it will never be.

message 4: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments It's ended up as an award not just for the writing, but for living a long time as well. Just did a calculation of winners from 2000 onwards, and the mean age was 68, older than he was.

message 6: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1858 comments Mod
It doesn't look like the prize in literature will be announced this week. I can't believe it's already October, so I'm disappointed by the delay. I haven't even really stopped to see what folks are saying this year . . . a bit more time, then.

message 7: by Trevor (last edited Oct 03, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1858 comments Mod
Ever since Alice Munro won, I haven't sat and really cheered on a potential winner. I was actively hoping she'd win, yet I never thought she would. Now I just sit back and hope it's someone whose work sounds attractive.

If I were putting out some of my favorites, though, I'd probably put Laszlo Krasznahorkai at the top of my list, with Louise Erdrich and Javier Marias close behind. These three are all too young, if we look at Nobel trends, and I'm not sure who else to cheer for since I've got lots of blind spots among the usual suspects.


Edit to add that over at The World Literature Forum (google it and you'll find the forum -- I'm getting too lazy to link), they are tracking odds and it looks like Marias keeps going up the ladder. It's unlikely this means he's going to win since it doesn't appear a winner has been chosen yet, but perhaps he's a better contender than I thought. They are even calling him a "boring" (meaning predictable and safe) choice over there.

message 9: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments I would love to see Marias win, only a late award to Kundera would please me more, but I think both may be a little too playful for the Nobel judges who can seem a little po faced in their choices, as arguably they should given the remit of the prize.

message 10: by Vilis (new)

Vilis | 3 comments I think Marias isn't out of question, although his age might play against him, in my opinion. Mo Yan is anything but humourless, for instance. However, after two European authors in a row (and a Westerner before that), they might want want to look outside a bit. That's also why I don't see Ismail Kadare winning this year either, although I'll be rooting for him.

message 11: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1858 comments Mod
Some speculation going on since Don DeLillo's odds went from 66/1 to 14/1. Of course, it could be that someone with no knowledge just placed a large bet.

Good summation by M.A. Orthofer here, with plenty of links to other articles and forums.

message 12: by Hugh (last edited Oct 13, 2016 04:38AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3537 comments Mod
Bob Dylan!? I bet none of you saw that coming...

message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments What a joke.

Once again though it does prove that the betting odds are a very reliable guide. He was 4th favourite this morning.

Indeed those arguing that the odds just reflect misinformed punters rather than genuine information have usually cited Bob Dylan's presence near the top as Exhibit A.

message 14: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 115 comments Paul wrote: "What a joke."

I am right there with you.

message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments Hugh wrote: "Bob Dylan!? I bet none of you saw that coming..."

New Republic called it ... or not ...

"Bob Dylan 100 percent is not going to win. Stop saying Bob Dylan should win the Nobel Prize."

message 16: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 115 comments Maybe next year Joss Whedon can win. Or Steven Moffat.

message 17: by Trudie (new)

Trudie (trudieb) I think that's great and bold choice actually ... I think he goes beyond being just a "popular musician" if you take the lyrics as poetry.

message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments Nicole wrote: "Maybe next year Joss Whedon can win. Or Steven Moffat."

Or Lionel Messi - after all his football is like poetry.

I hope that the Grammys this year are now dominated by Adunis, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Ko Un and Javier Marias.

message 19: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments From the citation:
“As an artist, he is strikingly versatile; he has been active as painter, actor and scriptwriter,” said the announcement. “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.”

So even from their own announcement basically he is an artist - and the main literary output for which he is responsible is that produced by other people.

message 20: by Dan (new)

Dan I agree with Paul on this. I’m an American of roughly Bob Dylan’s age, and I’ve been listening with great appreciation and enjoyment to his music since the early 1960s when he first appeared in New York. I still listen to and enjoy his music. But he’s a ridiculous choice for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and, frankly, it feels like an insult to many great (and now elderly) writers who could justifiably have been Nobel awardees.

message 21: by Trudie (new)

Trudie (trudieb) Just by way of devils advocate here

"To be alone with you,
At the close of the day,
With only you in view,
While evening slips away,
It only goes to show,
That while life’s pleasures be few,
The only one I know,
Is when I’m alone with you."

Beautiful with or without music ... poetry, literature, art does it need to have such specific labels ....

message 22: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 289 comments Justin Bieber is thinking of putting in his name for Lit Nobel 2036.

What the heck is "secondary literature" anyway? Never heard of such thing until today.

They should either rename it to Nobel prize in Art or stop pretending they gave the prize this year to a writer.


message 23: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 115 comments Dan wrote: "frankly, it feels like an insult to many great (and now elderly) writers who could justifiably have been Nobel awardees. "

This sums up how I feel about it much better than I could say it. Bob Dylan may or may not have written some beautiful things, but given the context, and the (oh so many) other people who are more or less in the running, it's verging on disdainful to give this particular prize to this particular person.

The last couple years, I've almost wondered if the committee isn't more attached to the idea of itself as a body that is radically expanding the very idea of literature in some way than it is to the idea of choosing the best of the world's lifelong contributors to it.

message 24: by juliemcl (new)

juliemcl | 2 comments Nicole wrote: "This sums up how I feel about it much better than I could say..."

Agreed. I like Bob Dylan as well as the next guy, but upon hearing the announcement on the radio this morning, I let out an audible, high-pitched "WHAAAT"? (I was in the car alone.) Readers of literature = not happy. Everyone else = hearing of this particular prize for the first time. In fact, they've already discussed it several times on the ESPN sports-gossip show "Mike & Mike"...

message 25: by Antonomasia (last edited Oct 13, 2016 06:26AM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Well, I can't say I'm outraged as others here seem to be, simply very surprised because of years of listening to comments about him always being in the betting odds, but obviously never going to win. I was a little frustrated I han't got round to reading up on this year's contenders and placing a bet - now glad I didn't, because I'd always read it as a cast iron rule that Dylan wouldn't win, and I'd never have put money on him.

I also like the idea of the committee making a relatively leftfield decision, and that they are actually still capable of being controversial in a way that annoys Western literary types who would have gone and dutifully queued to buy the works of almost any other likely contender.

The fact that twenty years ago, a close friend did an S-Level project in English (US equivalent would probably be Advanced Placement) focused on his lyrics - and that this was seen as a smart move by a very academic school and at Oxbridge, means that I've understood him as being bracketed as part of the establishment of "great writers" for my whole adult life. He was obviously acceptable in this context in a way I'd never heard of any other pop / rock star being.

However, I think he's overrated. There are a good many more interesting lyricists in pop and rock music, who deserve at least as much respect as Dylan and who are never likely to be mentioned as Nobel contenders.

(I think a more interesting conversation would be: which living lyricist[s] do you think deserving of a literary award? I am not sure this is the board to list a top five or ten, but my first choice would be Momus.)

message 26: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 289 comments Nicole wrote: "..if the committee isn't more attached to the idea of itself as a body that is radically expanding the very idea of literature...

It does look like an attempt to bring creative non-literature into the ambit of the prize. Last year it was Svetlana Alexievich's essentially political writings (My protest against which is on record). This year it's popular song lyrics some of which may pass for half-decent poetry*. Next year we might see a comic book writer with the prize. So who are the best comics writers of our times? Or more investigative journalists? Philosophers? Popular scientists? Zizek, Chomsky? Dawkins?

* Not belittling Dylan's lyrics or music. They work together. Song lyrics taken alone as poetry read like it's written by a high school rhymester.

message 27: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3537 comments Mod
Antonomasia wrote: "(I think a more interesting conversation would be: which living lyricist[s] do you think deserving of a literary award? I am not sure this is the board to list a top five or ten, but my first choice would be Momus.) ."
Interesting question! My leftfield nomination would be Peter Hammill

message 28: by Dan (new)

Dan Gary Shteyngart's comment: "I totally get the Nobel committee. Reading books is hard."

Incidentally, great discussion this. And thanks to Trudie and Antonomasia for standing up to the rest of us and for expanding the conversation.

I'm reminded of what my dentist sometimes tells me (no, not THAT dentist): "I could agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong." And if I did emojis, I would add the hated smile face here.

message 29: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments It's amusing to see that a 60s rock dinosaur, who seems so firmly part of the establishment now, can actually still elicit some measure of artistic shock as in his heyday. I thought those days were long gone.

@Hugh: I've probably heard some Van Der Graaf Generator, but can't remember right now what they sound like.

message 30: by Nicole (last edited Oct 13, 2016 06:40AM) (new)

Nicole | 115 comments Jibran wrote: "Nicole wrote: "..if the committee isn't more attached to the idea of itself as a body that is radically expanding the very idea of literature...

It does look like an attempt to bring creative non-..."

I also was reminded of the Churchill thing, which also strikes me as wrong, wrong, wrong.

PS-have your written about your objection to last year's award? I'm curious to read it if you have.

PPS-for the record, I love both Moffat and Whedon, and think they are great writers. Just, you know, come on.

message 31: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3537 comments Mod
Antonomasia wrote: "I've probably heard some Van Der Graaf Generator, but can't remember right now what they sound like"
... which is probably more than I can remember about Momus, though I do vaguely recall hearing a song back in the 80s and thinking it was interesting...

message 32: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments How could I forget? Perhaps the most obvious musician contender, other than Dylan, would have been Tom Waits (past conditional because Dylan's award makes it stupendously unlikely he would get it any time soon). That's one I'd have wholeheartedly supported.

message 33: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 289 comments Nicole wrote: "PS-have your written about your objection to last year's award? I'm curious to read it if you have."

Yes, I posted it somewhere on GR. Let me see if I can find it.

message 34: by Paul (last edited Oct 13, 2016 08:14AM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments Nicole wrote: "I also was reminded of the Churchill thing, which also strikes me as wrong, wrong, wrong."

The Nobel site has quite an honest and self-critical history of the prize down the years. It has this to say about Churchill:

"The history of the Literary Prize offers a case where this delicate balance was endangered, the prize to Winston Churchill. When the decision was taken in 1953, after many years of discussion, it was felt that a sufficient distance from the candidate's wartime exploits had been gained, making it possible for a Prize to him to be generally understood as a literary award. The reaction from many quarters showed that this was quite a vain hope. Now, there can be no doubt that the Committee and the Academy attributed exceptional literary merits to Churchill the historian and the orator. They certainly concurred in the address to the Laureate, "a Caesar who also had the gift of wielding Cicero's stylus". The problem was how this Caesar, a mere eight years after the war, could be mentally separated from the Ciceronian prose."

Although they are too generous to themselves in claiming generally there have been few political awards. 2015 aside, even awards to authors I adore like Pamuk and Grass had a political angle.

Worth a read - although they will have to add a new name to the eras they mark "Giving Up On This Being a Literary Prize (2016- )"

message 35: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 115 comments Paul wrote: "Nicole wrote: "I also was reminded of the Churchill thing, which also strikes me as wrong, wrong, wrong."

The Nobel site has quite an honest and self-critical history of the prize down the years. ..."

Thanks for this, I'll definitely be into that later tonight.

In other news, Dario Fo died today (perhaps from shock and horror).

message 36: by Tonymess (last edited Oct 13, 2016 12:35PM) (new)

Tonymess | 32 comments Hear hear Trudy & Antonimasia - I'm fully with your views. It's 5.30am so I'm not thinking clearly yet, but comparing Dylan to Justin Bieber or Lionel Messi is just not helpful to logical debate.

message 37: by Trevor (last edited Oct 13, 2016 12:32PM) (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1858 comments Mod
I've been reading through these responses today but until now haven't had a chance to weigh in. My feelings are a bit jumbled.

On the one hand, I can see why they think Bob Dylan is a poet. I like Dylan's work as well, and I'm glad he's taken time to inject his lyrics with a poetry that goes beyond rhyming.

On the other hand, like several of you above, I don't fully agree that, if the lyrics are taken alone without the music, his work is really what I think of when I think of "poetry" and "literature," nor is it as meaningful to me without the added melodies, beats, and rhythms. I guess some disagree and find that Dylan's work is Nobel-worthy taken line by line as text.

I've concluded, then, that I'm just not happy with the stretch, and don't agree that Dylan should have been up for the prize in the first place.

I also share concerns that the Prize now feels even more diluted than before. After all, if the award can now go to lyricists (or would they have to write the music, too, as Dylan does (with producers)?), then, as some have suggested, why not screenwriters, comic book authors, or librettists? And if not, why not? And what about popularity? Is a deserving (with Bob Dylan as the marker) poetic lyricist who writes in Arabic going to get consideration? If not, then that feels just wrong. At the same time, I think they're picking Dylan as a representation from an era, so his fame and influence must have been factored in as a significant reason he is deserving of the prize.

That last paragraph is probably too gloomy. I'm sure this is a unique case and that the committee spent some time making peace with this year's winner as an exception. In theory I'm okay seeing things from a new perspective, so exceptions are welcome. Or, as I've talked to myself above, maybe not.

I also would place other songwriters, like Paul Simon, ahead of him if we're really going there.


Prior to any responses below, I've edited this a few times, so it may have changed to more fully reflect my feelings (as of now) than any version you may have read before.

message 38: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1858 comments Mod
I'd also like to say that I don't see this as a slap in the face to the many other authors who write books, poems, plays, creative journalism, war speeches (. . . oh, boy, the Nobel has really opened the field up). I think many of them are very deserving, and I'd prefer they win over Dylan for many reasons, including (especially) on the merits of a line-by-line reading of their work as literature. But so many deserving authors are never going to win this once-yearly award (which sometimes goes to undeserving authors) that I see any winner as a bit of a fluke rather than a stamp of bona fide excellence. I'd prefer they always pick who I want or introduce me to an author I'm going to love, but . . .

message 39: by Trudie (last edited Oct 13, 2016 01:03PM) (new)

Trudie (trudieb) Tonymess wrote: "Hear hear Trudy & Antonimasia - I'm fully with your views. It's 5.30am so I'm not thinking clearly yet, but comparing Dylan to Justin Bieber or Lionel Messi is just not helpful to logical debate."

Robust debate is what I enjoy so much about this group ;).
I guess I agree with Trevor and others in so far as this selection would seem to open up a debate as to other lyricists that might rightfully be considered in the realms of literature. However my criteria would be, can you extract the words from the music and read them in that format and still think this artist has a depth of work that holds up to that analysis ...
Dylan is certainly a musician that I personally get more from the words than the music.
While I do understand that it feels like a lost opportunity for a little known author to get some well-deserved recognition I also feel it is not a *bad* thing for another method of creative expression to be rewarded in this way, for some people this is how they absorb their "literature".... I seems good to me to occasionally to break down some walls between art-forms and who knows prehaps bring new readership and interest to past and future Nobel prize winners ...
Ron Charles from The Washington Post has an interesting
article with reactions from poets

message 40: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments Don de Lillo was the hot tip overnight whose odds were tightening and elsewhere I saw someone had dug up a pre Nobel announcement quote by de Lillo saying Dylan had invented a whole new form of communication.

Well so did Marconi and he won a Nobel as well. For physics because he is a physician.

If there is ever a Nobel prize for songwriting then I wouldn't begrudge Dylan winning it (although he wouldn't be my first choice). But there isn't.

I am a mathematician and have known people who are Nobel worthy. But, tough luck, there isn't a Nobel for maths so they miss out (they get a Fields Medal instead). No one tries to shoehorn them into another vaguely related Nobel prize.

Always interesting to hear other views and I enjoy the robust debate, but the Literature prize has been devalued today.

message 41: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3537 comments Mod
Trevor, Thanks for the wise words. I can see both sides of this argument but it is not the first time the prize has courted controversy and surely won't be the last...

message 42: by Tonymess (new)

Tonymess | 32 comments Here was the betting market prior to the announcement
Haruki Murakami 5/1
Adunis 6/1
Philip Roth 7/1
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o 10/1
Ismail Kadare 16/1
Javier Marias 16/1
Joyce Carol Oates 20/1
Jon Fosse 20/1
Laszlo Krasznahorkai 20/1
Amos Oz 25/1
Ko Un 33/1
John Banville 33/1
Adam Zagajewski 33/1
Antonio Lobo Antunes 33/1
Juan Marse 33/1
Kjell Askildsen 33/1
Doris Kareva 33/1
Claudio Magris 33/1
Nawal El Saadawi 50/1
Milan Kundera 50/1
Thomas Pynchon 50/1
Lydia Davis 50/1
Cees Nooteboom 50/1
Mircea Cartarescu 50/1
Bob Dylan 50/1
Les Murray 50/1
Leonard Nolens 50/1
Olga Tokarczuk 50/1
David Malouf 66/1
Peter Carey 66/1
Karol Schoeman 66/1
William Trevor 66/1
Yan Lianke 66/1
Bei Dao 66/1
Rohinton Minstry 66/1
Nuruddin Farah 66/1

From Ladbrokes, there may have been large market movement (there must have been if Dylan was on the 4th line of betting) as I didn't monitor up until the announcement - I occasionally sleep.

message 43: by Trudie (last edited Oct 13, 2016 05:59PM) (new)

Trudie (trudieb) Forgive me as I am not a mathematician but I am vaguely aware that many mathematicians have been awarded Nobel prizes for both Physics and Economics when their mathematical work contributed greatly to both. Sciences often needing a cross-disciplinary approach for advancement ... does not seem to greatly devaluing to me to stretch the boundaries of what is considered literature either. .
(Written in a spirit of merry discourse only )

message 44: by Nicole (last edited Oct 13, 2016 11:19PM) (new)

Nicole | 115 comments I actually think the whole "don't discount it because it's sung lyrics" thing is sort of disingenuous, or at least, over simplified. Bob Dylan isn't Homer. (Not the same genre, not the same means of production, and there was no dynamite and no Nobel at the time. Also, very little writing and no mechanical printing. Also, international relations took the form of sailing to your neighbor's island and stealing his stuff and raping his women.)

He's also not a medieval troubadour, which at least, on the genre front, would be a lot closer.

It's not "sung lyrics". It's popular music. And heretofore, it has not been considered literature in quite the same way as poetry fiction and printed drama have. Just look at all the threads burgeoning with examples of lyrics from OTHER popular music that people think is better than Dylan and you can see the problem coming from miles off. Now, in addition to that guy who complains that Americans are "due" (which is bullshit), and the guy who complains every year about Philip Roth, we are going to have, in the running, you know, every pop musician anybody has ever loved. And they will be overwhelmingly western, English-speaking pop musicians, probably like 95% American and British, precisely because the choice of Dylan was grounded in the kind of fame and icon status that you get from writing popular music and specifically popular music.

In this sense, some of the comparisons floating around the internet are a little more apt than I think people are willing to admit. Of course it's true that Bob Dylan is a better writer than whoever ghosted the Spice Girls. But people are reacting to genre and means of production and distribution there, and these are part of our definitions of literature. If we were to draw an analogy to the novel on the iconic status and distribution fronts, well, Dylan is a lot closer to Danielle Steele than he is to Orhan Pamuk, and everybody knows it, and this is where that visceral feeling comes from. The Spice Girls are, now, sort of, in the running. Not all writing, even very fine writing, is literature. Up 'til now, pop music hasn't been, not really, not if we're honest about the definition that everyone was using in practice. I know it's fashionable to find all limits and definitions to be sources of oppression, but they also do a lot of work in organizing our world and our lives. I think getting rid of this one was a bad idea, and I foresee a can of worms.

I also think it's presumptuous, to say the least, of the Nobel committee to take it upon themselves to redefine literature in this way. I think it's part of a desire to be the story themselves instead of honoring others. I think it's verging on narcissistic. Some jobs, your role is to stay behind the scenes and let someone or something else look good. Your job is to do your job invisibly. The last couple years, the Nobel committee doesn't seem to see what they do as service.

I'm also really frustrated (though not so much on this site, which is populated with actual readers) with the sudden influx of people who don't read but who think they are qualified to say that Dylan totally deserves the prize. I'm sure it makes them feel super to be able to feel like they are intellectual, literary types without actually reading any books, but there is such a thing as expertise, even in literature. I don't stop by the physics department and harangue my colleagues about Louis Néel -- I assume that physicists know better whose contributions are worthy of this level of honor and whose aren't. And, while I think literature is different in kind in that it should be for everyone, when it comes time to hand out a prize for the person whose lifelong contribution to literary art outshines EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, I don't think a person who kind of remembers reading Twlight last year should really be getting to vote. More importantly, this prize shouldn't be about making those people feel good, it should be about honoring literary art, an increasingly undervalued activity. I could accept an argument that we shouldn't have such a prize, but I just do not find myself convinced by the idea that we should, having established it, broaden and democratize it. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The only upside that I can see is that I am now eligible to win one day for having written a really, really good grant proposal, or a spectacular paragraph of web marketing copy, both of which I am great at writing. I'm sure that if that ever happens, web commenters the world over will speak out about how it's a great step forward in democratizing a competitive prize that goes to one out of seven billion people every year. But they will all be wrong.

message 45: by Kazen (new)

Kazen I was surprised as anyone else to hear that Dylan won and while I may not like the choice I see that the committee wanted to branch out. I'm not thrilled but I can live with it.

The thing that bothers me is that it's another white guy in the Western literary tradition. I was hoping to learn about someone I had never heard of, who is unknown to much of the world because they're writing in a different language or an area of the world that doesn't get the attention it deserves. In that sense naming Dylan, who is known most the world over, feels like a squandered opportunity.

message 46: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 289 comments @Nicole, that was well said. You've hit it!

Something that looks like a joke is making rounds. When the Nobel rep telephoned Bob to inform him that he's won the Nobel prize for lit, Bob reportedly said, "What? This is nonsense." I will take comfort in knowing that his gut reaction was entirely reasonable.

Anyway, Salman Rushdie, among others, has supported the award and in his tweet counted Bob among the long tradition of artists who have earned renown through a close working relationship between music and poetry. He includes Orpheus and Faiz Ahmad Faiz to the list (Faiz was twice nominated for Nobel but never won it, unfortunately). Ignore Orpheus for being too ancient but the comparison with Faiz is inadequate.

Faiz was a poet of highest literary calibre whose ghazals (metered poems) and nazms (metered or free) were put to music independently by many singers worth their craft. He didn't write for other singers or for himself. He was neither a musician nor a singer but only poet. I'm not going into details about how mainstream music is still indebted to literary poetry in the Subcontinent's musical tradition, and how modern musicians and singers have put to music poems written 200, 300, 500, even 800 years ago to popular acclaim. As an analogy imagine Justin Timberlake putting Wordsworth to music or Rihanna singing sonnets of John Keats or poems of Sylvia Plath. Unimaginable! It is this close pact between our musical tradition and literary poetry (old and new) which propelled Faiz into the realm of popular and semi-classical music without his seeking it, and it's incomparable to the Dylan phenomenon.

message 47: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Pool Paul wrote: "Or Lionel Messi - after all his football is like poetry".

A better choice would be Eric Cantona: A poet on and off the pitch
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea"

message 48: by Tony (new)

Tony | 627 comments Stupid decision, utterly incomprehensible.

Still, looking on the bright side, at least that's another literary award I can safely forget about in future. Life's too short...

message 49: by Karen (new)

Karen (bookertalk) | 41 comments Hugh wrote: "Bob Dylan!? I bet none of you saw that coming..."
An odd choice - the judges praised him for poetry yet in an interview he did many years ago he denied he was a poet and said he saw himself as a songwriter.....

message 50: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10271 comments Tonymess wrote: "Here was the betting market prior to the announcement"

Unibet odds just before the announcement were

Adunis 2.25
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o 4
Murakami 7.5
Dylan 9
Fosse 11
Roth 13
De Lillo 15

That tends to be the bookie where the in-the-know bets are placed. And Murakami aside all of the above tightened a lot in the run-up - which may (we will only find out in 50 years time) suggest some may have been on the shortlist.

If you want the complete list you can still find it here
(same site has Ladbrokes as well as two others but the other suspended betting in the last hour or so)

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