All I Have to Say About the Nobel


The Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced tomorrow and, as usual, a lot of people are getting their panties in a knot about it. And I hear people complain all the time about the Nobel never having been awarded to such greats as Kafka, Joyce, Nabokov and Borges. As if the Nobel Prize matters, as if it means something. As if the list of past winners wasn't full of the forgotten, the unnotable and those whose cultural esteem has long since fallen into disregard. I can't imagine getting all that emotional about who wins and who doesn't. (In fact, there are very few awards I have any kind of strong feelings about.) Or, as Doris Lessing summed up so deftly when she was told she had won, "I couldn't care less."


There have been some good

There have been some good choices in the last 10 years. Orhan Pamuk, Harold Pinter, Jose Saramago, Elfriede Jelinek, JM Coetzee and even Lessing herself are all really great writers. That having been said Chinua Achebe STILL hasn't been given the award and part of me thinks the nobel committee isn't giving him one now just because so many people think it's long overdue.

That having been said there are a few authors who I think deserve the raise in profile that the nobel affords. Iain Banks comes to mind, as does Michael Moorcock.

To be honest with the possible exceptions of Philip Roth, there just aren't that many living US novelists who deserve much recognition at all. That having been said I think Alice Notley, Ron Silliman and John Ashbery are all good candidates among US poets. Not that the Nobel folks seem to understand English Poetry at all. I think the last English Language poet that got the prize was Seamus Heaney, and I mean for fucks sake...

I would be surprised if

I would be surprised if anyone on the Nobel committee had even heard of Michael Moorcock.

And the Nobel committee head's comments last year about America being too insular etc etc shows what kind of understanding they have of American literature, period.

well, i mean, it does mostly

well, i mean, it does mostly suck.