October 11, 2012
Chinese author Mo Yan has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, who, according to the committee, “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.”
From Nobel’s biography:
“As a twelve-year-old during the Cultural Revolution he left school to work, first in agriculture, later in a factory. In 1976 he joined the People’s Liberation Army and during this time began to study literature and write. His first short story was published in a literary journal in 1981. His breakthrough came a few years later with the novella Touming de hong luobo (1986, published in French as Le radis de cristal1993).”
You can read an interview with Mo Yan at Granta.
Here’s a Time profile of the author.
And another profile at China Through a Lens.
October 4, 2011
Via The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog, current odds (and yeah, we know, they change) from Ladbrokes for the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature (the oddsmaker’s name is Magnus Puke, by the by).
Adonis (Syria): 4/1
Tomas Tranströmer (Sweden): 7/1
Haruki Murakami (Japan): 8/1
Bob Dylan (U.S.): 10/1
Assia Djebar (Algeria): 12/1
Peter Nadas (Hungary): 12/1
Ko Un (South Korea): 14/1
Les Murray (Australia): 16/1
Thomas Pynchon (U.S.): 20/1
Philip Roth (U.S.): 20/1
Nuruddin Farah (Somalia): 20/1
While it’s easy to dismiss literary competitions as trifling or even crass, they do much—particularly high profile ones like the Nobel or the Pulitzer—to augment the readership of these authors, cement the winner’s canonical place, and expose the winner to a larger audience. They also help writers get paid better, which is a good thing.
The odds don’t really mean that much of course—this time last year, Cormac McCarthy was the favorite with an 8:1 lead.
October 7, 2010
The BBC and other sources report that Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa has won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is the first South American to win the Nobel in lit since Gabriel García Márquez won in 1982.
According to the Nobel website, the prize was awarded to Mario Vargas Llosa “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.”