Arts, Culture & Media

What author would you pick for a Nobel Prize in literature this year?

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Books are shown in stacks, one of them is by Peruvian-Spanish writer Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Books, including one by Peruvian Spanish writer Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, are seen at a secondhand book market in Lima, Peru.

Credit:

Mariana Bazo/Reuters

It's Nobel Prize season. But, there will be a noticeable absence this year. The Swedish Academy will not award a Nobel in literature in light of a sexual assault scandal. 

A new group, called the New Academy, has stepped in to fill the gap. And it has taken a different approach to the selection process: It took nominations from Sweden's librarians and then opened it up to the public, which cast more than 30,000 online votes for their favorite authors. An expert jury was charged with whittling down the list, and the winner will be announced on Oct. 12.   

It got us thinking — what author would you pick for a Nobel Prize? We asked that question Thursday, and many of you gave us a call with your selections. Here are some of your responses, below. 


Isabel Allende

I would like to recommend Isabel Allende for the Nobel Prize for her book, “The House of the Spirits” and for bringing a woman's perspective to Latin American magical realism, one of the great literary movements of our time.

— John, listening on KUAC in Fairbanks


Patrick Chamoiseau

If I could name the author for the next Nobel Prize in literature, I would name the Caribbean author, Patrick Chamoiseau, who lives on the island of Martinique. His work captures the diversity of experience on the island, and the diversity of the descendants of enslaved people and colonizers, indentured servants and others. His writing is truly brilliant. And, I would love for more people to know about it. Thanks.

— Suzanne, listening on KQED in San Francisco


Haruki Murakami

I believe Haruki Murakami needs to get the prize. He's been nominated several times already, and his mixture of surreal fiction and very interesting characters and the way he weaves them together is amazing. And so I believe he should win it. Thank you.

— Stephanie, listening on KCRW in Los Angeles


Louis de Bernières

I would nominate Louis de Bernières, who despite the French name, is an Englishman. And the reason I nominate him is for the book, “Birds Without Wings,” which was published in 2004 in the United Kingdom. It's precisely accurate, historical fiction — relevant to current events, centered on a small town in southwestern Anatolia, nearly 20th century. He's an awesome writer. I compare him to Tolstoy. Others compare him to Dickens, [or] Evelyn Waugh. He can really keep you up past your bedtime, which is how I decide if I really like a book or not. He can just write in just so many voices and cover so many subjects. And, he should get the Nobel Prize in literature.

— Tony, listening on Maine Public Radio in Danforth, Maine


Lois Greiman

I would pick my wife, Lois Greiman. She’s written over 50 novels and is a wonderful writer. And, probably one of the better writers in the world.

— Scott, listening in Spring Valley, Wisconsin

Those are just a selection of your messages. Here are some of the other authors you recommended. Thanks to everyone who called.

Nobel prize for literature: Your picks

  • Margaret Atwood — Mike, listening to WUNC in Durham, North Carolina
  • Richard Russo — Ruthie, listening to KUT in Austin, Texas
  • Louise Erdrich and Tommy Orange — Allison, listening to KUOW in Seattle
  • Haruki Murakami — Jake, listening to KNOW in Minnesota
  • William Alexander — Anthony
  • Laurie R. King — Rona, listening to KQED in San Francisco
  • David Sedaris — Joe, listening to KQED in Santa Rosa
  • Khaled Hosseini — Hakeem, listening to KQED
  • Tayari Jones — Jeanne, listening to KSKA in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Carl Safina — Wendy, listening to WGBH in Boston
  • Graham Greene and John le Carré — Tom, listening to WKSU in Kent, Ohio
  • Philip Roth — Diane, listening to WGBH in Boston

Drop a note in the comments section below to make your pick for who deserves a Nobel Prize in literature.

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