winner of 106th Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced at midday today. There has been much speculation about the recipient of this year’s award – bookmakers are backing Japanese author Haruki Murakami as their favourite.
Predicting Nobel winners is notoriously difficult, however, as the Swedish Academy has a habit of championing lesser known and recherché authors. Although the last ten years have seen household names such as JM Coetzee, Mario Vargas Llosa and Doris Lessing become Nobel laureates, authors such as Herta Müller, JMG Le Clézio and Tomas Tranströmer have also been honoured.
With that in mind, here is a list of authors seen by many critics as the leading contenders:1) Philip Roth
It has been twenty long years since an American last won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and many people see Philip Roth as the leading contender to buck the recent trend. The grand old man of American letters recently announced that he was retiring from writing after the publication of his 31st book, Nemesis. Since making a splash with his controversial 1959 debut, Goodbye Columbus, Roth has continued to examine male sexuality, Jewish identity and the meeting of private and public histories. He has one both the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Man Booker International Prize and many more.2) Haruki Murakami
The Japanese novelist is a global bestseller and publishing sensation in both his native country and the wider world. His last novel, Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, sold more than a million copies in its first month of release and is due to be published in English in the new year. His novels often combine surreal touches with references to western pop culture and are known for their plain style. He has previously won the Franz Kafka Prize and the Jerusalem Prize, amongst others.3) Adonis
Syrian poet Adonis is a perennial contender for the award. Despite once being imprisoned for his membership of the socialist party and being the victim of censorship, his work has continued to explore the political issues of the Middle East. He is a long-time resident of Paris and has written over 50 books of both poetry and prose, although he has turned to painting in recent years.4) Thomas Pynchon
To the casual observer, 76-year-old Thomas Pynchon is almost as famous for his reclusive nature as he is for his genre-bending postmodern works of fiction. Since the publication of his first novel, V (1963), Pynchon has consistently fused an encyclopaedic knowledge of mathematics, physics and history with lyricism, pop culture and slapstick humour. The highpoint of his artistic creation arguably came with his 1973 magnum opus, Gravity’s Rainbow. He has continued writing well into his seventies and his eighth novel, Bleeding Edge, was published last month to favourable reviews.5) Margaret Atwood
Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood is in the running to be just the thirteenth female winner in the prize's history. She is best known for her ambitious novels that meld disparate genres. She is also a published poet and has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize five times, winning once for The Blind Assassin. Her latest novel, MaddAddam, the third part of a trilogy, was published in 2013 to positive reviews.6) Alice Munro
Canadian author Alice Munro, 82, is celebrated for her short fiction. With a strong focus on place and the domestic, her realist tales examine myriad themes. Her fourteenth book of stories, published last year, was embraced by critics. She won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009.7) Javier Marias
The son of philosopher Julián Marías, Javier Marías is a Spanish novelist and translator. As a translator, he is best known for his versions of Tristram Shandy. His novels include the sweeping Your Face Tomorrow Trilogy and A Heart So White. His latest novel, The Infatuations, was published this year to glowing reviews. It won the Spanish government’s national narrative prize, which was turned down by the author.8) David Grossman
An Israeli author of fiction and journalism, David Grossman is also well known for being a prominent critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a firm advocate of the two-state solution. His books, such as See Under: Love, have had huge success in his home country and the rest of the world. His most recent novel, To the End of the Land, explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.9) Bob Dylan
Robert Allen Zimmerman, better known to the world as Bob Dylan, is the most famous of all of the names mentioned in relation to this prize. Now 72, Dylan has been a hugely influential figure in popular culture and the counterculture since the early Sixties. Favourite for the prize in 2011, the singer is admired for his poetic lyrics which demonstrate political, social, philosophical and literary influences. His 35th studio album, Tempest, was released in 2012.10) Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
The prolific Kenyan author has written plays and novels in English, Gikuyu and Swahili. Imprisoned in the 1970s for the political nature of his writing, he has since taught at the Universities of New York and Yale. Over the course of his long career, Ngũgĩ has embodied the big questions in postcolonial literature, such as whom to attack and in what language to do it. His most recent book, a memoir entitled In the House of the Interpreter, appeared in 2012. # Source: The Telegraph