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Kazuo Ishiguro Wins Nobel Prize In Literature

The Swedish Academy has chosen Kazuo Ishiguro as the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature Thursday morning, in an event that began at 7 a.m. ET. You can watch it live online.

The literature Nobel has always been a tough prize to predict. Many were surprised when last year’s award was won by Bob Dylan — who became the first person to win who’s mainly known as a singer and songwriter.

This year, the betting service Ladbrokes lists the top three bettors’ choices as Canadian Margaret Atwood (with 7/2 odds) Kenya’s Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (at 4/1) and Japan’s Haruki Murakami (5/1).

Those favorites were handicapped by NPR’s Lynn Neary on Morning Edition:

Atwood: “It’s been quite a year for Margaret Atwood,” Lynn says. “A television adaptation of her novel The Handmaid’s Tale was a huge success and the book, first published more than 30 years ago, is back near the top of bestseller lists.”

Murakami: “Tufts University Professor Hosea Hirata says Murakami has one thing that might be working against him: his popularity. ‘His books sell phenomenally, it’s like Harry Potter,’ Hirata says. Lynn, adds, “And literature Nobels often go to writers with strong political messages.”

Thiong’o: “It’s been 31 years since a black African writer from sub-Saharan Africa has won the Nobel,” Lynn says. Imprisoned for a year in 1977, Ngugi later went into exile and has been living in the U.S. since 1989. But [Macalester College professor David Moore] says he has worked to maintain his identity as a Kenyan author

When Dylan won last year, he also became the first American to win since Toni Morrison in 1993.

The Swedish Academy said Dylan won “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” as NPR’s Colin Dwyer reported.

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