Believe it: Bob Dylan is favored to win Nobel Prize in literature
According to Ladbrokes, Bob Dylan is the odds-on favorite to win the Nobel Prize for literature. The British betting house has Dylan as the top possibility, running at 5-to-1 odds, ahead of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, who is in second place, and Syrian poet Adonis in third.
The Nobel Committee never releases the names of writers who are under consideration, so Ladbrokes' list is simply speculation.
Dylan is a unique figure on the list that Ladbrokes posted for bettors. Most are international writers known for a significant body of literary work; Bob Dylan is a rock star, a musician and cultural polymath who can count a successful memoir among his artistic achievements.
When Ladbrokes initially posted the list, he was tied for dead last, with odds at 100-to-1. He lagged far behind well-known bestselling writers such as Michael Ondaatje ("The English Patient"), Ian McEwan ("Atonement," "Saturday") and Umberto Eco ("The Name of the Rose").
But as the day of the Nobel announcement has come closer -- the Literature Laureate will be announced early Thursday morning -- Dylan has made his way up the chart. He was not yet in the top 10 six days ago, but by Wednesday he was shouldering his way into the top five. Now, he's there at No. 1.
He remains ahead of Thomas Transtromer, an 80-year-old poet from Sweden who might be considered a hometown favorite for the Nobel. He's ahead of 78-year-old Korean poet Ko Un, who has been imprisoned for his writings. He's ahead of reclusive American author Thomas Pynchon, who has won a National Book Award, and Irish writer John Banville, who has won the Booker Prize.
Bob Dylan may be the odds-on favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but he would not be the best choice. If he wins, then, it's all over now, baby blue.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Bob Dylan performs in 2011. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times