Saturday, October 8, 2016

2016 Nobel Prize for Literature

Scene: a shadowy room, with typical low-lighting and cigar smoking. Around a large boardroom oval are beefy men, sweating through their white-collared shirts, sleeves rolled up and black ties loose from top buttons left open.

Shadow One: As apparently very incongruous and not at all Norwegian-looking members of the Nobel Committee, we must decide on a winner for this year's prize.

Shadow Two: We've only got three hours before Thursday's presumed deadline.

Shadow One: At last check the Committee was split between Murakami, Adunis, and Ross.

Shadow Three: Murakami is by far the most famous serious novelist on the global stage. We've only awarded five Asian Literature prizes - we need to give it to him.

Shadow Four: But there's only been one previous Arabic-language award. We've had two Japanese winners already. Adunis will help address this imbalance. And he's Syrian.

Suspiciously Trim and Handsome Shadow Five: But... Ross.

Shadow One: No one reads his blog.

STH Shadow Five: But it's so good!

Universal murmurs of approval.

Shadow Four: Due to the obviously political nature of our award we have to be very careful in giving it to an American. They may get ideas about their literature being quality.

Shadow Six: Haven't we nominated Philip Roth, like, fifty-eight times?

Shadow Seven: And Joyce Carol Oates?

Shadow Six: Oates would bring important representation to non-human authors. As a sock puppet her body of work is extraordinary.

Joyce Carol Oates, middle.

Shadow Three: There are more than four billion Asians. Five prizes in 115 years. Murakami.

Shadow Four: We all know that the Peace prize is going to go to Santos. We can't lose sight of Syria. It's the most important human rights disaster in the world today. We can't just acknowledge European Modernists, and turn a blind eye to those of the Middle East. The only Arabic author was from Egypt.

Shadow Eight: Speaking of Africa, what about Ngugi Wa Thiong'o?

Awkward silence.

Shadow Eight: No one read his work, did they?

Awkward shuffling and coughing.

STH Shadow Five: America hasn't won in 20 years. In an election year when they can nominate an insane man such as Donald Trump, it would be wise to nominate an author who has always stood up for truth, justice, and the American way. Ross would be a good choice, and, like Adonis, he has only one name.

Shadow One: Has he ever been published?

STH Shadow Five: ...No.

Shadow Seven: Wait a minute... You're not a beefy Norwegian. Who are you?

There's a pause, STH Shadow Five throws something, and after a bang, runs out of the room amidst a cloud of smoke.

Shadow One: Well that narrows it down somewhat. But we've still only a few hours before we need to announce.

Shadow Six: ...I think we need to postpone our statement.

General murmurs of assent.

Shadow One: You're right. Let's take one more week to decide.

Will the Nobel Committee reach a decision by next week? Which author's work will they decide is the world's greatest? What became of the Suspiciously Trim and Handsome Shadow Five? 

Find out next week on 'Nobel Prize Theater'!

Who will win?

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