If you’re looking to place a wager on who will win this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, you have just over a day before the winner is announced on Thursday. Every year the usual suspects pop up in the list of possible winners, and every year Ladbrokes (and other bookies) give odds. This year’s favorite is Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiongo at 4/1, while Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber comes in second favorite at 5/1. Haruki Murakami and Philip Roth are also in the Top Ten tipped to win the prize, but the big news in the last few days is that Don DeLillo has emerged as a dark horse contender: the odds on the author of such postmodern classics as White Noise, Underworld, and Libra have moved from a long-shot 66/1 to a more respectable 14/1.
[Look Inside: Don DeLillo’s White Noise on Amazon]
“DeLillo is a very interesting mover,” Ladbrokes spokesperson Alex Donohue tells the Guardian. “This seems to be the outside choice the literary betting public have latched on to.” Donoghue also noted that there had been heavy betting on Murakami, but that support for the Japanese novelist is now waning. If DeLillo wins, he will be the first American to win the Prize since Toni Morrison in 1993. The Nobel Prize in Literature is the world’s most prestigious literary award, worth almost $1.2 million, and virtually guaranteeing global fame. The Nobel Committee is notoriously secretive about the judging process, and has awarded the Prize to both well-known and obscure writers (such as last year’s winner, Svetlana Alexievich, or the relatively unknown French novelist Patrick Modiano.) Previous winners include W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney.