While it will only be awarded in October, online betting sites in the UK (and all around the world) have already opened bets on the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. Who seems to be the likeliest candidate?
After causing some controversy by awarding Bob Dylan in 2016, the Swedish Academy made a well-received but still unexpected pick last year (Kazuo Ishiguro). However, a recent turn of events might inspire them to make a bit more predictable choice this Autumn.
A #MeToo Scandal Could Orient You in Betting on the Winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature
Not long ago, a number of women accused Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of academy member Katarina Frostenson, of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Dagens Nyheter, the most widely read Swedish daily newspaper, published claims that Arnault exploited his ties to the Swedish Academy and committed some of the abuses in apartments belonging to the institution.
In protest of how the academy handled the allegations, three members resigned from their responsibilities on 6 April. They were followed by Sara Danius, the head of the academy (official title: “permanent secretary”), who quitted on 12 April. The Guardian reports that the public’s confidence in the remaining members is “at rock bottom”; concerns have been raised about whether the damage to the reputation of the prize could ever be undone.
This might also have an influence on the committee’s next pick for the prize. The judges might want to avoid further controversies of any kind. This is not the time for a provocative decision like awarding Bob Dylan. If the members want to counterbalance the low public opinion about them, they will pick someone that the audience wants to see win. For instance, one of the “perennial candidates” whose names keep popping up on internet sportsbook sites in the UK.
At the moment, you can bet on eight authors on VBet Sportsbook, one of the best online sportsbooks in the UK. Let’s take a look at the chances that the next Nobel Prize winner will be selected from this group.
Margaret Atwood’s odds (11.00) have decreased since last year, but she is still among the likeliest candidates. She has the support of last year’s winner, Ishiguro, who has apologized for stealing the prize from her and expressed hope she would get it soon. That hope is shared by many. The Handmaid’s Tale, set in a dystopian future where fertile women are forced to provide sexual services and bear children against their will, is widely praised for its relevance.
But that popularity might actually hurt her chances. The Swedish Academy tends to award less-known authors in an attempt to inspire more readers to go after their works. Although the Academy might not want to give the Prize to an obscure writer, Atwood might be too famous to get picked. The same holds true for another perennial with otherwise good chances, Haruki Murakami (9.00).
Philip Roth (17.00), an author who is reportedly frustrated at not winning the prize despite being named as one of the top contenders for years, also has too wide a readership. In his case, there is another circumstance that puts him at a disadvantage: he has retired from writing. While it is not a rule set in stone, the academy seems to prefer actively publishing authors.
The Nationality Factor
The Academy almost always waits a good while before picking a candidate from the same country that a previous winner was coming from. This consideration might eliminate further authors.
Last year’s winner, Ishiguro, was British, which appears to rule out a 2018 success by Martin Amis (51.00) or Salman Rushdie (51.00). Bob Dylan might have ruined Roth’s chances as both are American. Canadian-born Atwood might also have to wait as 2013 saw a win by a compatriot of hers, Alice Munro.
How About Less Well-Known Candidates?
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Ko Un (17.00) seems unlikely to win because he is, like the academy, currently involved in a sexual misconduct scandal. This leaves us Spanish writer-translator-columnist Javier Marías (17.00) and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (6.00), the favorite of online sportsbook sites in the UK.
We at GamingZion would bet on Ngugi. He was imprisoned for over a year due to his criticism of the inequities of the dictatorial government of his time. The academy appreciates political role; founder Alfred Nobel wanted the prize to be given “to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. Ngugi’s works are not only critically acclaimed but are also trying to bring about a change “in an ideal direction”.
If you are not familiar with his works, check out this article and see if it inspires you to pick up one of his books and even bet on him becoming the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature.