Tomorrow the Nobel Prizewinner in Literature will be announced. No doubt this is a nervous time for anyone who may be on the list of potentials.
Reading about it and about previous winners made me wonder why there is a prize for literature and not for the other arts. No doubt somewhere in all the bumf on the prizes there’s an explanation, but I haven’t found it.
One reason I can think of is availability. A written work can be produced in thousands of copies, available the world over, and still be the original work – no one expects or wants to read the author’s manuscript. The twentieth edition is still ‘the orginal’.
But for a painting or a piece of sculpture there can be only one. OK copies can be made – but they’re still copies.
No prize for music is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps its dependence on performance and the fact that a bad performance can affect the final decision, makes music a bad candidate. Or perhaps Mr Nobel just wasn’t into music.
Browsing through the Nobel Prize website I found this rule that I didn’t know before:
The names of the nominees cannot be revealed until 50 years later.
So although we’ll know the winner, only the younger people around today will know the ‘losers’. I think that’s a good thing. But I hope the nominees know they’ve been nominated. Even to get that far in such a prestigious competition must do wonders for someone’s self-belief.