e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Nobel time

Nobel medal

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.

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7 thoughts on “Nobel time

  1. I don’t think they do know they have been nominated – although if there has been a lot of attention in the press that might give them an inkling. I published Ladbrokes “short list” Haruki Murakami and Alice Munro were the front contenders yesterday. And they have Bob Dylan at 50 to 1!!! That would be an amazing choice.

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    • I had a look at your post. It’s a pretty long shortlist. I have to admit I don’t know anything about most of the people on it. I have read Alice Munro and enjoyed her work so go along with her as a leader of the list.

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  2. You pose an interesting question? Good luck to who have been nominated.

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    • I often think that it’s a pity everyone can’t win. Perhaps they’ll all have some sort of luck even if it’s something completely different from what they were hoping for. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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