One-Minute Book Reviews

October 8, 2008

London Bookies’ Favorites for the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature — Odds-Makers Give Edge to Magris and Oz But Also Rate Chances of Roth, Oates, McEwan, and DeLillo

Filed under: Book Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:20 pm
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Ladbrokes calls Italy’s Claudio Magris the favorite to win, but Unibet gives the edge to Israel’s Amos Oz

Italy’s Claudio Magris is the favorite to get the 2008 Nobel Prize in literature when the Swedish Academy names the recipient tomorrow, the Man Booker Prize site reports. Magris has 3–1 odds at the Ladbrokes betting agency. Just behind him are Syrian poet Adonis, Israel’s Amos Oz, and American novelist Joyce Carol Oates. The Man Booker site added:

“Booker Prize winners Margaret Atwood, John Banville, A.S. Byatt, Peter Carey, Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje and Salman Rushdie have also been given odds”

The English novelist Doris Lessing won the 2007 Nobel in literature, so McEwan probably has no chance. But the appearance of his name on the Ladbrokes list raises the tantalizing possibility that the Nobel could go to the novelist whose On Chesil Beach was longlisted for the 2007 Bad Sex Award.

Earth Times reports that Ladbrokes’ odds differ from those of Unibet, which has named Israeli author Amos Oz as the frontrunner with 4-1 odds to win the Nobel Prize

“Both online bettings sites had Syrian-born poet Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Asbar) in second place ….

“Ladbrokes had US authors Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth in third place this year along with Oz at 6 to 1, while American writer Don DeLillo was on 8 to 1”,bets-are-on-for-nobel-literature-prize–feature.html.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. That would be very exciting if Joyce Carol Oates won! Unfortunately, I bet that doesn’t happen. Did you see the article in where Swedish judge Horace Engdahl put down American writers as being too ignorant and wrapped up in our own culture? He’s probably trying to stir up a little firestorm of publicity before the Nobel ceremony, but it’s still all a bit much! Here’s the link:

    Comment by Val Kovalin — October 8, 2008 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  2. Great link. I did see the article, and my take on it was: He was trying to prepare the U.S. for not getting the Nobel this year. I, too, suspect that Oates won’t get it this year, if only because an English-speaking female novelist got it in 2007.

    But the Nobel judges are harder than many others to predict. Eudora Welty, for example never got the award, though she was a strong candidate for years. And I could never figure out why she didn’t. Any thoughts on that one?

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 8, 2008 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  3. Wow, that’s hard to explain because Eudora Welty was such a genius. Maybe the committee felt that they’d already awarded writing that concerns the American South when they gave the prize to William Faulkner in 1949. Even though they really don’t have much in common, maybe he, also being from Mississippi and also writing about the American South, overshadowed her.

    Or maybe the Nobel committee overlooked Eudora Welty because she was known for short stories? Maybe there is a Nobel snobbery not just against Americans — ha, ha! — but against the short story form!

    Comment by Val Kovalin — October 8, 2008 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  4. The short story aspect could definitely have been a factor. The short story form is much more popular in America than in, for example, England, where people have always favored novels.

    So being known for short stories could well have worked against Welty (and, for that matter, John Cheever) with international judges to a much greater extent than than with the judges for American prizes.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 8, 2008 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  5. I was just thinking about John Cheever! I remember reading somewhere that the poor guy looked at his contemporary Saul Bellow and felt inadequate because Bellow wrote about these huge themes, and Cheever only wrote about “the American businessman.” Imagine that!

    Comment by Val Kovalin — October 9, 2008 @ 12:12 am | Reply

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