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Bringing Japanese Literature to the World

Bringing Japanese Literature to the World

Canadian Alice Munro beats out Superstar Japanese Writer for the Nobel Prize

Publicity-shy Japanese author Haruki Murakami, shown in Kyoto in May, is favourite for this year's Nobel Prize in Literature, betting odds showJapanese literary superstar Haruki Murakami was a favourite for this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature after repeatedly being mentioned as a contender for the prestigious global gong. Despite not winning, he is still a brilliant author.

Online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com was offering odds of 3-1 on the novelist scooping up the prize, which will be announced in Sweden next month.

Murakami, who has a large and loyal following worldwide, has been a regular nominee for the prize for many years, and was Ladbrokes’ top bet at one point last year, when he lost out to China’s Mo Yan. This year he lost again to Alice Munro the iconic Canadian writer with a passionate globla audience.

In the odds offered by Ladbrokes, Murakami was followed by US writer Joyce Carol Oates at 6-1. Peter Nadas from Hungary was the third favourite at 7-1, with South Korean Ko Un and Algerian Assia Djebar tied in fourth at 10-1. Funnily enough Alice Munro didn’t rate.

But perhaps most interesting is that two Asian authors were considered very serious candidates for this most auspices award.

Murakami, who spends much of his time in the United States, is known for writing lyrically and surreally about Japanese who refuse to toe the line in a homogenous society, peppering his works with pop culture references.

His three-volume novel “1Q84” proved a worldwide phenomenon, and non-Japanese-speaking fans are now eagerly waiting for translation of his latest — “Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to Kare no Junrei no Toshi (Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)” — expected next year.

It was released in April in Japanese.

Murakami’s latest novel tells the story of a young man struggling with an ordeal in his past, who uses the support offered by a romance to get back on his feet.

Translated into some 40 languages, his works have attracted fans globally with their so-called “Murakami world” — fantastical scenes such as a giant frog inviting a salaryman into an epic battle, or skies that rain mackerel.

Even if Murakami didn’t win his books are great reads and we recommend them highly!

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