Sensation over Pamuk's controversial comments in a magazine interview that Turkey had killed one million Armenians and more than 30 million Kurds, as well as reverberations from Pamuk's latest comments blaming Turkish author Yasar Kemal for what he characterized as silence under political pressure, may well lessen Pamuk's chances at winning the Nobel, say many. Literary critics also point to Pamuk's relatively youthful age of 53 as being a negative factor in his being chosen for the Nobel.
Other candidates for this year's award
In the Swedish press, Syrian author and poet Ali Ahmet Said joins a list of names including Yasar Kemal as those "who have come up most often for the Nobel, but who cannot seem to win." Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer, whose works have been translated into 52 languages, is another candidate who is at an enormous disadvantage: he is Swedish. A Swede has not won the Nobel Prize for Literature since 1974. Other candidates for this year's prize are Korean author Ko Un, Canadian author Margaret Atwood, American authors Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates, Albanian author Ismail Kadere, and Israeli author Amos Oz.
Nobel Academy founded nearly 250 years ago
The Nobel Academy, which was founded in 1786 by Swedish King Gustav III to promote Swedish language and literature, has been handing out awards for literature since 1901. Along with the recognition that comes with the Nobel Prize for Literature, the winner also receives 1.3 million dollars of award money. Last year's winner was Austrian feminist author Elfriede Jelinek.