Who Will Win the Nobel Prize? Place Your Bets!

Betting odds favor Haruki Murakami, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, and Philip Roth to win literature’s most famous prize

Everyone knows that it’s almost impossible to make money writing fiction, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money betting on other people’s writing. The Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced in early October, and if you think you know who will win you can place your bets today.

According to sports betting side Ladbrokes, the favorites to win are Haruki Murakami, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, and Philip Roth. However, Murakami and Roth have been topping the betting odds list for years and neither have won, suggesting the odds probably reflect the fame of those authors more than their actual chances of winning. (Similarly, Bob Dylan’s actual odds are certainly far lower than 50/1). It seems likely that Murakami is a bit too popular for the Nobel, and Roth, who is now retired, probably missed his chance. Thiong’o and Adunis seem like safer bets, but the Nobel doesn’t like to be predictable. Last year, Svetlana Alexievich won, making her the first non-fiction writer to win in a half century.

My own pick for a darkhorse candidate who might return good money: Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai.

Nobel Prize in Literature Odds at Ladbrokes

Haruki Murakami: 5/1

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o: 7/1

Philip Roth: 8/1

Ismail Kadare: 16/1

Joyce Carol Oates: 16/1

Jon Fosse: 20/1

Adunis: 25/1

Peter Handke: 25/1

Peter Nadas: 25/1

Amos Oz: 25/1

Ko Un: 25/1

John Banville: 33/1

Adam Zagajewski: 33/1

Antonio Lobo Antunes: 33/1

Juan Marse: 33/1

Kjell Askildsen: 33/1

Doris Kareva: 33/1

Javier Marias: 25/1

Claudio Magris: 33/1

About the Author

More Like This

Predicting the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Which book will come out ahead on April 15?

Apr 12 - Bradley Sides

Do We Still Need the Nobel Prize in Literature?

After last year’s scandal the Academy is awarding two prizes — and attempting to change

Mar 8 - Carrie V. Mullins

Why Are Men So Much Worse At Writing Sex Than Women?

Male authors dominate the Bad Sex in Fiction awards, and it’s no coincidence

Dec 18 - Lisa Locascio