STEVE INSKEEP, host:
The Nobel Prize for Literature is expected to be announced this morning. The award often comes with controversy. And NPR's Neda Ulaby says if recent years are any indication, the best odds favor the darkest horse.
NEDA ULABY: British playwright Harold Pinter did not even register on bookmaker's lists last year for potential Nobel literature laureates and yet he won. The year before that, the name of an Austrian writer had crossed relatively few lips in international letters.
Ms. ELFRIEDE JELINEK (Author; Nobel Laureate): (Foreign language spoken)
ULABY: Elfriede Jelinek's Nobel win shocked her fellow citizens and provoked the resignation of one Swedish Academy member who found her work “pornographic and whiny.” Even Jelinek was baffled and wondered why she was chosen over, say, German author Peter Handke, who she called a living classic.
The safest money this year might be on the Syrian-born poet Adonis, who sports the shortest odds - three to one. Here's Adonis reading in Arabic at an arts festival in New York.
ADONIS (Poet): (Foreign language spoken)
ULABY: You might call Adonis the Susan Lucci of the Nobel literature awards. Every year for years he's been favored as a frontrunner, and every year he's come up short.
Other leading candidates this year include writer Joyce Carol Oates. Her six to one odds have been dismissed by some because an Anglophone won last year. The longest odds this year are on Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Bob Dylan whose chances are 500 to one, according to bookmakers.
Neda Ulaby, NPR News.
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