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Ngugi moves ahead of Murakami in battle for Nobel prize

| 07.10.2014

Following the announcement that the Nobel Prize in Literature is set to be announced on Thursday, two authors have raced clear of the pack in the market.

Haruki Murakami had long been the favourite to win the prize, with the English version of his 13th novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage released in August.

However, Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o has surged past Murakami to become the market leader at 7/2, with the Japanese author second in the betting at 9/2.

The 76-year-old Ngũgĩ works in both English and the Gikuyu language and has previously been nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

Since 2005, four favourites have gone on to win the Nobel prize, while 2012 winner Mo Yan and 2013 victor Alice Munro were also prominent in the betting before their triumphs.

Last year’s favourite Svetlana Aleksijevitj is currently 6/1 this time around, third in the market, while Adonis, Ismail Kadare and Patrick Modiano are all priced at 10/1.

Frenchman Modiano has been backed in significantly after entering the list at 100/1, while Peter Handke’s odds have also plummeted from 50/1 to 12/1.

Handke, a controversial figure due to his denial of the Srebenica genocide and support for Slobodan Milosevic, was awarded the 2014 International Ibsen Prize, accounting for his recent price drop.

For those hankering after an outsider, Bob Dylan is in the market at 25/1, while big-name authors like John Le Carre and Cormac McCarthy can be found even further down the betting at 50/1.

The award, which now brings with it an eight million kronor bounty (£693,000), has been handed out to 110 individuals, but Ngugi would be the first Kenyan ever to win the Nobel if successful.

There are 210 names being considered for the prize, including 36 people on the list for the first time.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune