Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Institute Fall Series; Nobel Sweepstakes

As the Writers Institute website morphs and grows, it's clear that there's a lot of updating ahead. The Summer wasn't quite completed, and the Fall Series is already going great guns, with Jane Hamilton, Kim Edwards, and native son Richard Russo. We'll write on each, especially Russo's sense that a) he does still live in New York State, albeit in his his head, and b) that in an almost jungian projection and balancing, Russo feels the three main characters of his new novel, Bridge of Sighs, are three essential parts of his his own psyche.

But enough of that for now. It's Nobel literature laureate prognostication time, and we're amazed that punters are attracted to Ladbrokes's current odds for winning the Prize, which will be announced on Thursday, October 11, when most Americans, or Western Hemispherians, potential winners among them, will be asleep.

Philip Roth has moved in the time time of my writing from 6 to 2 to 5 to 1 to 7 to 2. He remains leader of the pack no matter that, as a writer friend says, he makes him weary of being a man (allusion to the Neruda poem). Here's the current Labrokes's list - though the list will likely change within minutes of our posting.

Our sentimental favorites include Yves Bonnefoy, Claudio Magris (has anyone in America read him?), Chinua Achebe, Alice Munro, and well, because we're fond of Aussies, Les Murray. But where are John Ashbery, or Charles Simic? Or Nurrudin Farah? In time.

The Institute has brought through more than one-third of the writers listed, but there are a number of writers on the Ladbrokes list who are either unknown to us or so longshot that it's not worth the effort of speculation (JK Rowling, Bob Dylan, etc. - no matter that writers in these part love Dylan).

Our best guess: the award is always political without being political, so it's unlikely for an American to win,but Roth is Roth. Then there's Munro (front-row Canadian), Bonnefoy, Achebe, Magris, or some Mayanmar poet who has been laboring in obscurity and pain but who will be celebrated like a record-breaking NFL undrafted free agent.

Here are the current odds from a european-based bunch of brokers who don't read:

Philip Roth 7/2
Claudio Magris 6/1
Haruki Murakami 7/1
Thomas Transtromer 7/1
Amos Oz 8/1
Joyce Carol Oates 8/1
Les Murray 8/1
Adonis 10/1
Thomas Pynchon 10/1
Ko Un 14/1
Yves Bonnefoy 16/1
Cees Nooteboom 20/1
Margaret Atwood 20/1
Antoni Tabucchi 25/1
Milan Kundera 25/1
Assia Djebar 25/1
Bei Dao 25/1
Don DeLillo 25/1
Hugo Claus 25/1
Jean Marie Gustav Le Clezio 25/1
Mahmoud Darwish 25/1
Peter Carey 25/1
Alice Munro 40/1
Carlos Fuentes 40/1
Eric Elmsatr 40/1
Gitta Sereny 40/1
Harry Mulisch 40/1
Herta Muller 40/1
Ian McEwan 40/1
Inger Christensen 40/1
John Updike 40/1
Willy Kyrklund 40/1
Chinua Achebe 50/1
Cormac McCarthy 50/1
David Malouf 50/1
Mario Vargas Llosa 50/1
Michel Tournier 50/1
Umberto Ecco 50/1
A. B. Yehoshua 100/1
Adam Zagajewski 100/1
E. L. Doctorow 100/1
Eeva Kilpi 100/1
F. Sionil Jose 100/1
J K Rowling 100/1
John Banville 100/1
Julian Barnes 100/1
Mary Gordon 100/1
Michael Ondaatje 100/1
Patrick Modiano 100/1
Paul Auster 100/1
Salman Rushdie 100/1
William H Gass 100/1
Bob Dylan 150/1
2007-10-11 11:00:00