The Nobel prizes for literature for both 2018 and 2019 are to be awarded in Sweden, in the capital Stockholm later on Thursday.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o,78, a world-renowned writer, playwright and essayist could snatch the esteemed prize which every author drools for.
Last year’s award was postponed after a sexual and financial abuse scandal which led to several resignations at the Swedish Academy – the independent body that makes the awards.
Five Africans have won the Nobel Prize in Literature: Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka in 1986, Egypt’s Naguib Mahfouz in 1988, South Africa’s Nadine Gordimer in 1991, South Africa’s J.M. Coetzee in 2003, and Zimbabwe’s Doris Lessing in 2007.
In the aftermath of the scandal, major changes were introduced for how the prize is awarded.
According to the BBC arts correspondent, Vincent Dowd, says the changes have led to speculation that future winners are less likely to be white males who write in English.
Which writers will get the @NobelPrize for Literature for 2019… and last year's award too? Swedish Academy has 2 prizes to hand out after Arnault scandal. Will new attitudes prevail? Of 114 winners to date only 14 were women – and the last black African winner was 33 years ago. pic.twitter.com/qV2aBGjpSe
— Vincent Dowd (@dowdv) October 10, 2019
Kenyans are once again hopeful and optimistic that one of their beloved literary icon and famous sons, award-winning Ngugi wa Thiong’o, will scoop the prestigious prize.
Regraded as East Africa’s most influential writer, his novels include Wizard of the Crow, Petals of Blood, Weep Not Child, The River Between and the Grain of Wheat.
The British betting site Nicer Odds currently has Ngugi in joint fourth, down one place from last week, with the Canadian poet and essayist Anne Carson still first
In a recent interview with Neil Munshi of The Financial Times, Ngugi is reported to have commented on the issue:
“A Nobel, he tells me towards the end of our three-hour chat, would be validating but not essential. Six years ago, he shot to the top of betting on the day the result was to be announced, only for one of his daughters to call to tell him that Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa had won. He recalls the faces of the photographers who had gathered outside his home in anticipation of his victory: “I was the one who was consoling them!” he said.
His son is confident that it could finally be his father’s time:
I am so confident that my father will win The Nobel Prize in Literature this year that the only question I have is where he will hang the medal! https://t.co/ydlO4Kbki2
— Mukoma Wa Ngugi (@MukomaWaNgugi) October 8, 2019
"If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a civilization to produce a writer of Ngugi’s stature. And yet in Kenya, I feel that we are yet to understand that. We are great because of Ngugi and other Kenyan writers of his generation…" Billy Kahora. https://t.co/hH3Lm2mR9x
— Mukoma Wa Ngugi (@MukomaWaNgugi) October 9, 2019