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Nobel Literature 2022: a big name or a new leap into the unknown and discovery?


Will the Swedish Academy honor a renowned author on Thursday or will it once again choose more confidential writers such as Louise Glück (in 2020) and Abdulrazak Gurnah (2021)?

Questioned, criticized and sometimes sulphurous, the Nobel Prize for Literature, awarded Thursday, could still surprise as it seems to be committed to bringing authors out of the shadows.

With the American poet Louise Glück and the British novelist of Tanzanian origin Abdulrazak Gurnah, the Swedish Academy responsible for awarding the most famous of literary prizes had chosen in quick succession to shed light on little-translated and very little-known authors, including publishing circles.

After last year, I find it maybe even more difficult to guess

,” admits Lina Kalmteg, head of literature at Swedish national radio, recalling “

the total surprise

” in the studio at the announcement of the palms of Abdulrazak Gurnah.


I think we want a better known name this year because of last year's surprise

,” predicts Bjorn Wiman, head of the cultural department of the Swedish daily

Dagens Nyheter.

Read alsoThe Nobel Prize for Literature faced with its promises of diversity

The Academy is recovering from a long crisis, after a #Metoo scandal in 2018 and the awarding of a controversial Nobel the following year to Austrian writer Peter Handke with pro-Milosevic positions.


The Academy is now obviously concerned about its image in terms of diversity and gender representation in a whole different way than before the 2017-2018 scandal

," Bjorn Wiman told AFP.

A lot of new people have integrated it with other perspectives, other references

,” he adds.

Criticized for its lack of diversity in the choice of its laureates, the Academy also set up in 2020 a new external group of experts in different linguistic areas.

After the upheavals of the Jean-Claude Arnault affair forced him to postpone the announcement of the 2018 prize by a year, the Swedish cenacle crowned two women, Louise Glück and the Polish Olga Tokarczuk, for one man.

Read alsoShould the Nobel Prize for Literature be awarded to Salman Rushdie?

A good omen for the American Joyce Carol Oates, the French Annie Ernaux or Maryse Condé, or the Canadian Margaret Atwood, considered to be nobelisable?

Since the inception of the prize, a total of 16 women have been awarded the prestigious literary prize, the first being the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf in 1909. -Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It would make people react

,” according to Bjorn Wiman, who underlines both the author's opposition to the Kremlin and the fact of highlighting Russian culture in the midst of the war in Ukraine.

It is this kind of complex intellectual debate that we are happy to see around the Nobel

,” he notes.

Read alsoMichel Houellebecq on his way to the Nobel Prize in Literature

On the betting sites, the Frenchman Michel Houellebecq, usual suspect, is for the moment the favorite.

He is ahead of the Canadian poet Anne Carson or Salman Rushdie, victim of an attempted murder in August.

It was not until 2016 that the Academy, long anxious to appear neutral, denounced the fatwa targeting the British author of the Satanic Verses, to the chagrin of several of its members.

The names of other regular speculators are circulating, such as the Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, the Hungarian Laszlo Krasznahorkai or the Americans Thomas Pynchon or Don DeLillo.


Postmodern American novels have not been rewarded so far

," says Jonas Thente, literary critic at Dagens Nyheter.

Among the other favorites, the Norwegians Jon Fosse and Karl Ove Knausgaard, could bring the Nobel back to its Scandinavian cradle, more than ten years after the awarding of the literature prize to the Swede Tomas Tranströmer.

The heart of Maria Hymna Ramnehill, literary critic for the daily Göteborgs-posten, leans on the Franco-Moroccan Tahar Ben Jelloun or the Croatian Dubravka Ugresic.


I find that both have in a different way, a literature that questions or examines identities

," she explains.


They talk about their identities in complex ways and highlight a complicated reality that is difficult to understand and that cannot be explained by simple solutions


Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-10-05

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