By Susan Harris
Forty-eight hours to go to the announcement, and the race is up for grabs. Six hours ago, Ladbrokes had Ngugi wa Thiong’o at 3:1, followed by Cormac McCarthy (6:1), Haruki Murakami (7:1), Tomas Transtromer (9:1), Adonis (11:1), Gerald Murnane (11:1), and Ko Un (12:1). At day's end, Ngugi remains on top at 11:4, and McCarthy holds at 3:1, but Murakami drops to 10:1 and Murnane to 11:1. Ko Un holds at 12:1, Adonis slips to 13:1 Juan Gelman and Les Murray sit at 15:1, and Transtromer fades to 17:1. Michael Orthofer has his money on Ngugi. I'm still thinking Adonis or Ko Un. Readers?
I don’t know why we didn’t think of Ngugi wa Thiong’o in the earlier installment, but I think that’s a great choice, and a likely one.
Cormac McCarthy? No chance. I don’t think the judges would even look his way, unless maybe “The Road” comes true and he becomes the last writer on earth.
Ngugi has more major, lasting achievements in a wide range of genres, including novels, plays, short stories, essays and scholarship, memoirs, criticism, and children’s literature—in two languages (English and Gikuyu)—than any other African writer and, perhaps, any other world writer. He would be the first African Nobel laureate who writes in an African language.
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