Autumn brings football, fiery colors, and the Nobel Prize announcements. The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded annually to a writer who has produced a markedly exceptional oeuvre. The Nobel Prize does not set a particular date for the announcement. The only parameter is that the announcement comes sometime in October. So for those inclined, every October morning provides a pleasant anticipation: Will today be the day? Will my favorite writer become a Nobel laureate this morning? The last American writer to receive the Nobel Prize was Toni Morrison in 1993. Some say we are due, but others argue with over two hundred countries and myriad rich literary cultures, is it that odd for a single country to wait nineteen years for another Nobel recipient? Granted, the literary output of the United States affords a greater global literary presence, but sheer volume and notoriety do not determine the winner. Recent winners like Herta Muller, J.M. Le Clezio, and Tomas Transtromer received the Nobel Prize over many higher profile writers.
You can bet on just about anything. Including the Nobel Prize. Ladbrokes, a British betting house, offers odds each year. This year’s odds were first released in August and initial frontrunner Haruki Murakami continues to lead the pack. The Japanese novelist is trailed by perennial contenders Cees Nooteboom, Ismail Kadare, and Adonis (quite possibly the most egotistical pen name ever). The top American contenders based on Ladbrokes’ odds are Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, and Don DeLillo. Ladbrokes either benefits from a well-read staff or they receive insider tips, because seemingly every year the eventual winner shoots up the odds chart in the days before the announcement of the Nobel Prize winner. I do not gamble, but I will be watching Ladbrokes to see who makes a run.