Betting markets give insight into Nobel Prize
AMERICAN novelist Don DeLillo has emerged as an outside contender for this week’s Nobel Prize in literature – at least in the minds of the betting public.
The Swedish Academy, the members of which decide on the winner of the 8 million Swedish krona US$950,000) award, announced on October 11 that the name of this year’s Nobel laureate would be revealed today.
DeLillo was previously at 66/1 at Ladbrokes, but has now moved to 14/1.
“DeLillo is a very interesting mover,” said Ladbrokes spokesperson Alex Donohue. “This seems to be the outside choice the literary betting public have latched on to.”
Donohue added that Spain’s Javier Marías was “similarly coming in at late notice, [at] 66/1 then 33/1 and now 16/1”.
Analysis last week from Ladbrokes has shown that over the last 10 years the favourite when betting was suspended has taken the prize four times, while 91 percent of the time the winner has had odds of 10/1 or less when betting was suspended.
The eventual winner has also seen their odds decrease by an average of 32pc in the final week before the prize is announced.
Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, formerly the favourite at Ladbrokes, has now been usurped by Kenyan NgǊgƭ wa Thiong’o, who has moved from 10/1 to 4/1 at the betting firm.
Donohue said that the top three most popular bets at this stage are DeLillo, Thiong’o and Marías. “Murakami’s army of fans came out to play early on but support for him has dried up.
“It looks like he will continue to fall down the list as the announcement looms,” he added. At rival betting firm Unibet and William Hill, however, Murakami remains top, followed by the Syrian poet Adonis.
DeLillo, the National Book Award-winning author of novels including Underworld and White Noise, is the winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American fiction, which honours “an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but for its originality of thought and imagination”.
The Nobel goes to writers whom the 18 members of the Swedish Academy judge to have written “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”.
In recent years, this has ranged from the Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich, honoured for her “polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”, to China’s Mo Yan, “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”.
Since 1901, 108 laureates have been chosen, 14 of whom have been women. – The Guardian