This Nobel season, six white Swedes (with undoubtedly excellent taste, albeit a limited comfort zone) will decide which obscure writer (or not-so-obscure writer, if some of the recent wins are any indication) will be read by millions. readers who otherwise might not care to know their Krasznahorkai from their Knausgaard.
It can be quite disconcerting how powerful literary awards are, with their ability to nudge previously unknown writers out of the figurative shadow into the limelight. And that was especially true for the Nobel (Just ask publisher Godine how many Patrick Modiano novels they sold, before and after he won the Nobel in 2014).
And so, over the past seven years at Boxwalla, we’ve tried to cram the incredibly rich literary landscape that spans our planet, into our book boxes, which, among other things, feature writers we think are worthy of the award. Literature Nobel Prize. . Some of the writers we think could win ahead of them include Svetlana Alexievich, Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke. (It was beyond our mental capacity to predict Bob Dylan’s victory in 2016.)
You see, while the English-speaking world has slowly opened up to the consumption of popular culture in languages other than English, the Nobel Committee for Literature seems to be heading in the opposite direction. An example is the unprecedented cultural globalization this is what happens with Korean cinema, television and pop music. We are currently in a time where Korean dramas have mainstream American audiences, Korean movies and shows are winning Oscars and Emmys, as well as Palmes d’Or.
But if you look at the statistics on Nobel laureates in recent years, four of the last six laureates write in English and the rest of the non-English writers are European. You would think that in this post-Squid Games, post-BTS world, the Academy would try to regain its relevance by reading and engaging with works outside of its comfort zone, by reading outside of Europe and North America, by rewarding authors who write not only in the language of their colonizers. However, they seem to be trying to stay relevant by currying favor with the English-speaking literary community.
And so now, to illustrate the rich literary diversity available to the committee, we have a list that will give you an overview of extraordinary writers from around the world, who we believe deserve the Nobel Prize. And if you think who the hell are these people and why should we listen to them you’re absolutely right. You should not. And you shouldn’t be wearing sunscreen, and you shouldn’t be drinking at least six glasses of water a day.
Adonis is a Syrian poet who probably should have won by now. Let’s just say he doesn’t win, it’s like TS Eliot didn’t win. But hey, he’s an Arab, so it’s probably not the same for the committee.
Ngugi Wa’ Thiong’o
Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa’ Thiong’o decided to kill his reach by switching to writing in his native Gikuyu instead of English. A true inspiration for Instagram algorithm creators. Its tireless mission is to equalize the balance of power between languages and to decolonize the literary landscape. We can also attest to its ability to make you fall in love and hate Joseph Conrad in the span of an hour. Lily raven magician or one of his memoirs.
If the Swedish Academy really wanted to award an American twice in six years, we don’t understand why Edwidge Danticat wasn’t so American. Recommended reading: The dew breaker and Breathe, Eyes, Memory.
We think it’s impossible for anyone to read American writer Garielle Lutz and not feel the universe change a bit. His sentences, at first glance, may seem obtuse. But they are deceptively so, in fact, simplifying the meaning of things in unexpected ways. Start with his essay The phrase is a lonely place, then his news. Among the best written in English since Patrick White (who won the Nobel Prize in 1973). Though one of us is tempted to say, since Shakespeare, but we’ll temper our praise for now.
Norwegian writer Jon Fosse was Knausgaard’s teacher, whose advice and example Knausgaard (by his own admission) clearly did not follow. Read anything from him. But if you want a manageable place to start, try Morning and evening. Some of his novels were out of print a few years ago and selling for ridiculous prices on eBay. Don’t let that happen to him again – read it.
An Iranian novelist. It is amazing that it is not better known or more widely read. Try Touba and the meaning of the night. She wrote this beautiful novel after being imprisoned in Iran for four years. What many men take pages and pages to do, she does in just twenty, easily juxtaposing Sufi mysticism with the political and the scientific.
We find reading Hungarian writer Lazlo Krasznahorkai a unique experience – it’s as if his letters don’t form words with meaning, but directly transcend meaning to form an image that you may or may not understand. It’s very difficult to describe, but we recommend to start with Satantangoand follow it with the Bela Tarr film of the same name.
French writer Annie Ernaux has managed to make her way into bookstagram visibility despite being an extraordinary writer. start with Years—an autofiction masterclass.
The Nobel committee likely debated between Canadian writer Anne Carson, Louis Gluck and Charles Simic in 2020, so it may be a while before she is considered again. We recommend that you start with it Red’s Autobiography.
No black woman from Africa has ever won this award. Already. If the Franco-Rwandan writer Scholastique Mukasonga does not win one day, it would be a parody.
Maryse Condé is a legend of Caribbean literature. In 2018, the Nobel Prize for Literature was suspended, a substitute jury was appointed and she was awarded the “Substitute Nobel”. Perhaps it is time to award him the real Nobel?
Kurdish-Syrian writer Salim Barakat has been officially nominated for the award this year. He was also praised by poets Mahmoud Darwish and Adonis. Bonus points: he lives in Sweden. He currently has only one book of poetry translated into English. Read his beautiful poem, Revengeto taste.
And if the Academy wants to become relevant by awarding a Korean writer, then can we recommend the great Korean novelist Hwang Sok-yong?
There are so many other writers that we love but couldn’t make the list. But such is life. Murphy’s Law states that the only writer we haven’t included here (Mircea Cartarescu, Boubacar Boris Diop, Cesar Aira, Ismail Kadare!) will win. But, as Vonnegut said, Poo-tee-weet. And so it goes.
PS If you want our more complete list, contact us at [email protected]