Thursday, October 09, 2008

American Writers and the Nobel Prize


*UPDATE*: Well, the Nobel folks have a tendency to announce that they'll be awarding a prize in a couple of weeks, then go ahead and do it the next morning. Jean-Marie Gustave le Clezio is the 2008 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Horace Engdahl, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy and keeper of the Nobel Prize, recently said that American writers do not engage themselves with the greater world and therefore are not worthy of wining the Nobel Prize. Yikes! That’s a serious condemnation. With the Nobel Prize in literature expected to be awarded within a couple of weeks, deserving American writers such as Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates look like their Nobel exile will continue.

Whether or not Roth or Oates claims the world’s richest literary prize ($1.3million), they remain highly productive and constantly acclaimed writers. I can’t think of a better way to honor a writer than to read her work. The Austin Public Library owns dozens and dozens of their books. Below are just a few highlights:

Philip Roth:
American Pastoral
Sabbath’s Theater
Portnoy’s Complaint
Indignation

Indignation is the November selection for the Contemporary Fiction Book Club.

Joyce Carol Oates:
The Gravedigger’s Daughter
Blonde
What I Lived For
them

Scott McLemee asked American scholars, critics, and writers to respond to Engdahl’s pointed criticism. Their responses can be found here.

1 comment:

Didi said...

Actually, it was awarded today: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/10/09/nobel.prize.literature/?iref=hpmostpop