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Oz on yellow brick road to Nobel glory?

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dorisIt’s that time of year again. Although we don’t yet know the exact date of the announcement, in the next few weeks the Swedish Academy will decide on the 2009 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, probably the writing world’s biggest award.

The bookies are already out of the blocks, and it is Israeli writer and professor Amos Oz, regularly considered a favourite in recent years, who is tipped for glory this time around. Ladbrokes in Britain make him the 4/1 frontrunner, ahead of Algeria’s Assia Djebar (5/1), Spain’s Luis Goytisolo (6/1), America’s Joyce Carol Oates and her compatriot (and perennial Nobel Prize also-ran) Philip Roth, both on 7/1.amos

Ladbrokes feels that the perceived bias against U.S. authors among Swedish scholars could scupper the chances of Oates and Roth once again. The United States must go back 16 years, with Toni Morrison, for its last Nobel Prize in Literature.

But before we get too carried away with the odds, Ladbrokes has tipped the eventual winner only twice in the last seven years – J.M. Coetzee in 2003 and Orhan Pamuk in 2006. Doris Lessing, who won in 2007, was one of several outsiders to take the big prize in recent years.

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