The Nobel Prizes for literature and peace are to be announced on 8 and 9 October respectively. Both these prizes tend to get the most public interest as they are often given to well-known people or organizations. A lot of names have been mentioned for the literature prize, awarded by the Swedish Academy.
Its 2016 Nobel pick of US rock legend Bob Dylan was a contentious choice, followed the next year by the emergence of a rape scandal close to its members that tore the Academy apart, forcing it to postpone the prize for 2018 — a first in 70 years. The Academy was revamped, and just when everyone thought it would steer clear of controversy, it gave the 2019 prize to Austrian novelist Peter Handke, known for his pro-Serb support in the Balkan wars.
“If the Academy knows what’s good for them, they’ll choose Jamaica Kincaid,” Bjorn Wiman, cultural editor at Sweden’s biggest daily Dagens Nyheter said. The Caribbean-American author is known for exploring colonialism, racism, and gender. “Kincaid and her stance on various moral and political issues are absolutely worth listening to today,” he said. However, the Academy could also “dust off some old candidate” such as Peter Nadas of Hungary, Albania’s Ismael Kadare, or Romania’s Mircea Cartarescu, he said.
Madelaine Levy, a literature critic at daily Svenska Dagbladet, meanwhile said she was hoping for American author Joan Didion. Canadian poet Anne Carson was also seen as a possible winner, alongside “usual suspects” Ngugi wa Thiong’o of Kenya, French novelist Michel Houellebecq, American authors Joyce Carol Oates and Marilynn Robinson, Israel’s David Grossman, and Canada’s Margaret Atwood. British novelist Hilary Mantel – not usually mentioned in Nobel speculation – has also popped up.
This year, the traditional nobel prize ceremony in December in Stockholm has been canceled due to the pandemic, replaced with a televised broadcast showing laureates receiving their awards in their home countries.