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Nobel Prize in Literature: Who is Most Likely to Win This Year?

Authors Maryse Condé, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Anne Carson, Javier Marías and Ko Un have been billed as the top contenders for the Nobel Prize in Literature this year.


Other authors who are being seen as potential winners of the top honour in the literary world include Yan Lianke, Annie Ernaux, Can Xue, Cormac Mc Carthy, Don De Lillo, Marilynne Robinson, and Jamaica Kincaid.

Nominations of the Nobel Prize are a closely-guarded secret. According to the Nobel Prize Organisation, the statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years.

In 2020, several analysts have predicted the secret jury to pick a ‘safe choice’ for the prize.

(Text Source: Nobel Prize Organisation)

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2019 was awarded to Austrian author Peter Handke, a decision that prompted severe backlash and criticism due to Handke’s alleged denial of crimes committed by the Serbs during the 1990 war in erstwhile Yugoslavia. In 2018, it was awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. The announcement for the 2018 and 2019 prizes were made jointly in 2019, since the Nobel was postponed in 2018 over sexual and financial misconduct allegations levelled against an academy member.

Ahead of the announcement, we compile a list of this year’s probable nominations for the top honour.

Maryse Condé – The French novelist, critic, and playwright is best known for her worldwide bestseller Segu. She was awarded the 2018 New Academy Prize for ‘alternative novel’. Her latest novel The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana explores racism through satire.

Lyudmila Ulitskaya – A contemporary Russian novelist and short story author, she is known for her works such as Sonechka, The Green Tent, and several short stories. She was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2014 and her latest work is called Funeral Party.

Haruki Murakami – A man who needs no introduction, Murakami is known for his best-selling works like Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, Norwegian Wood and more. While the Japanese author had withdrawn his name from the Nobel Prize in 2018, this year fans are expecting him to win.


Margaret AtwoodCanadian poet and novelist, Atwood is known for her new-age hard-hitting writings in books like The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, The Year of Flood and more. She has won several awards, including the Booker Prize and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’oKenyan novelist, scholar, and playwright, Ngũgĩ writes about resistance, justice, and his political beliefs. His work includes A Grain of Wheat, the River Between, Petals of Blood and more. He abandoned English and primarily wrote in his native tongue Gikuyu.

The Nobel is given to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”, according to the words of Alfred Nobel’s will.