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'The Nobel Prize in Literature is what every author dreams of, a place in the pantheon internationally and eternally'

Prof David Vann

Professor David Vann teaches on the English and Creative Writing program in the English and Comparative Literary Studies Department. Published in 20 languages, David Vann’s internationally-bestselling books have won 15 prizes, including best foreign novel in France and Spain, and appeared on 75 Best Books of the Year lists in a dozen countries. He comments ahead of the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in Sweden tomorrow:

"The Nobel Prize in Literature is what every author dreams of, a place in the pantheon internationally and eternally. No other literary prize can compare. Even the £740,000 it pays means very little compared to the recognition. But probably no author ever expects that he or she will win, because the awarding of the prize can seem so random and unpredictable. The prize is for a career, not awarded for a particular book, and if high literary accomplishment were the only criterion, I would have expected American author Cormac McCarthy to have won years ago. Certainly no other living author has accomplished anything as great as his novel Blood Meridian, and he's buttressed this with Suttree and his border trilogy and many other works. But I'm American, from its rural

west, so of course I'd say this, and there are so many authors in this wide world that I haven't yet read. This is a problem for the prize, one that the prize-givers probably find endlessly annoying. Haruki Murakami has long been a favorite, also. Certainly many in Japan and perhaps across Asia feel slighted since he hasn't yet won.

"The Nobel Prize in Literature is the result of a very careful international selection process each year but has sometimes been accused of being political, meant to reward or prod or embarrass one country or another, and there's a bit of head-scratching also when lesser-known authors are picked. Ladbrokes takes bets on the prize, but this is probably one of the purest forms of gambling. Whatever happens in Sweden behind closed doors is similar in its mystery to what happens behind the curtain of the Magnificent Oz, so we'll just have to wait until the announcement is made and hope that we've at least heard of the author before."

Professor David Vann is available for interview on Globelynx camera or ISDN line.


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