Nobel Prize in Literature 2023: Who Will Be the Next Laureate [Predictions]

It’s Nobel Prize announcements week, and the world eagerly anticipates the winners of these prestigious awards in various fields. The announcements will continue between October 2nd and 9th.

On Monday, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to the scientists behind the mRNA Covid vaccines. The Nobel Prize in Physics went to scientists using light pulses to study electrons, and yesterday, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the scientists who discovered quantum dots.

However, what has the Culture desk most excited is Thursday’s announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature. This esteemed award, given since 1901, celebrates laureates who have, in accordance with Alfred Nobel’s original guidelines, produced exceptional work in an idealistic direction within the field of literature.

The announcement will take place at the Swedish Academy, and the laureate will also receive a substantial prize of 11,000,000 SEK, which is approximately €9.5 million. It’s a momentous occasion for the literary world.

Last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the French writer Annie Ernaux. She was recognized “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements, and collective restraints of personal memory.” One of her most notable works is the personal memoir ‘Les Années’ (The Years).

The Nobel Prize in Literature has honored many distinguished authors over the years. Notable laureates include Olga Tokarczuk in 2018, Kazuo Ishiguro in 2017, and the songwriter Bob Dylan in 2016. Throughout the past century, this prestigious prize has been bestowed upon some of the most significant figures in literature, including Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, and Selma Lagerlöf.

As we await the announcement of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature, it’s interesting to consider the bookies’ odds for the likely next laureate, which are accurate as of the time of writing.

Can Xue – 8/1

Leading the list of potential Nobel Prize in Literature recipients is the experimental Chinese writer Can Xue. Born in 1953, Can Xue’s upbringing was marked by the Communist Party’s denouncement of her parents as rightists, an experience that profoundly influenced her avant-garde literary style, breaking away from traditional Chinese literary norms.

Can Xue is best known for her collections of short stories, and it’s widely recognized that English translations often struggle to capture the unique and idiosyncratic qualities of her writing. Nonetheless, her most recent novel, ‘Barefoot Doctor,’ published in 2019, has garnered significant attention and has firmly placed her on the radar of the Nobel committee as a potential laureate.

Haruki Murakami – 12/1

Each year brings another opportunity for Japanese author Haruki Murakami to be considered for the top literary prize. Murakami gained international acclaim with his nostalgic romance novel ‘Norwegian Wood’ in 1987. Since then, he has carved a niche for himself with his recurring theme of magical realism, evident in novels like ‘Kafka on the Shore’ and ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.’

Murakami has long been a favorite for the Nobel Prize, having already earned nearly every other accolade in the world of literature. His works have also found their way into the public consciousness through various film adaptations, with recent notable examples being the excellent ‘Burning’ and the Oscar-winning ‘Drive My Car.’

Gerald Murnane and László Krasznahorkai are next on the list, both with odds of 14/1.

Gerald Murnane, at 84, is a writer known to only a select few, but those who are familiar with his work insist that he is among the greatest writers. He is perhaps best known for his 1982 novel ‘The Plains’ and 1988 novel ‘Inland,’ both of which exemplify his unique self-referential style that delves into the commentary on his own artistry.

On the other end of the spectrum is László Krasznahorkai, considered the most significant living Hungarian author. His first novel, the postmodernist ‘Satantango,’ was released in 1985 and was adapted into a seven-hour film by Krasznahorkai and experimental Hungarian director Béla Tarr. His work exists in an intense visionary realm that has captivated many.

Also in the Running

Several literary giants currently share odds of approximately 16/1. Among them is the enigmatic American author Thomas Pynchon. His shape-shifting postmodern novels, including the elusive ‘Gravity’s Rainbow,’ have long eluded Nobel expectations, making his inclusion on this list quite intriguing.

Russian writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya adds an interesting dimension to the conversation. She has been a vocal critic of the Kremlin and Putin’s Ukraine invasion and has been residing in Berlin since publicly condemning the war in Novaya Gazeta.

Margaret Atwood, perhaps the most renowned name among the writers in contention, stands out. Her 1985 novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has maintained its status as an international sensation, and the rest of her extensive body of work explores science fiction themes through a sharp feminist lens.


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