October 6, 2005

Nobel literature announcement likely next week

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The Swedish Academy which awards the
Nobel Literature Prize is likely to name the 2005 winner next

The Academy traditionally announces the winner of the 10
million crown ($1.29 million) prize on one of the first two
Thursdays of October, but only confirms the date of the
announcement two days in advance.

There was no advance notice this week, meaning it is almost
certain to announce next Tuesday that the latest laureate will
be named two days later. Officials at the Academy declined

The Academy never publishes or leaks its shortlist of
contenders, but speculation about who could win centers for the
second year running on an Arab laureate, with the Middle East
conflict and the Iraq war still prominent in the news. That
makes Syrian poet Adonis the bookies' favorite.

U.S. novelist Joyce Carol Oates is bookmaker Ladbrokes'
second favorite. Two more poets are high in the stakes -- Ko Un
of South Korea and Swede Thomas Transtromer -- since no poet
has won since Chinese-born Gao Xingjian in 2000.

The Academy is often accused of being obscure in tastes and
favoring leftist candidates -- even Austria was surprised when
radical novelist and playwright Elfriede Jelinek won last year.

Academy head Horace Engdahl told Reuters last week that the
Nobel prize committee paid "no attention whatsoever" to the
political tendencies of writers on their secret shortlist.

He said the Nobel's aim was to "direct the attention of the
reading public to great writers that are sometimes only
appreciated in their country of origin or known only to a small
circle of cognoscenti."