Accomplished Kenyan author, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, has emerged as a favourite for this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. A run of bets originating in Sweden has seen the odds plummet on the distinguished Kenyan author, winning the prize next next month. The chances of the recently-retired Philip Roth taking the Nobel have also fallen dramatically, according to betting firm Ladbrokes.
Ladbrokes said that odds on Ngugi being named winner of the world’s most prestigious literary award, given out every October in Stockholm, had shortened from 33/1 to 10/1. “It’s always worth following the Swedish money and at this stage the one they like is Ngugi wa Thiong’o,” said spokesman for the betting firm Alex Donohue. Ngugi’s books include Caitani Mutharabaini (Devil on the Cross), a novel written on toilet paper while he was imprisoned following the performance of his play, Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want), which was critical of the inequalities of Kenyan society. He had been a favourite to take the Nobel in 2010, but that year, Mario Vargas Llosa won the prize. Tomas Tranströmer, 2010’s fourth favourite to win, went on to take the Nobel in 2011.
This year’s favourite this year, according to Ladbrokes’ odds, is Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami at 5/1,with Ngugi in joint second place with Algerian novelist Assia Djebar. Roth, who recently announced his happy retirement from the world of novel writing, comes in at 16/1, as do the feted Czech writer Milan Kundera, and the Syrian poet, Adonis.
Ladbrokes opened its book on the 2014 Nobel prize for literature minutes after Alice Munro was announced as last year’s winner, cited by judges as the “master of the contemporary short story”. “We’ve been taking bets for this year from the day of the announcement last year,” said Donohue.
The date of the prize’s announcement has not yet been revealed, but it is traditionally announced in early to mid-October.