On Thursday, the Swedish Academy in Stockholm will announce the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
While the actual winner is always a mystery, Salman Rushdie, an author and advocate for free speech who was born in India but fled the country after Iran’s clerical rulers called for his death because of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” is a leading contender. In August, at a festival in New York state, Rushdie, then 75 years old, was stabbed multiple times and critically injured.
Authors like the Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, the Japanese Haruki Murakami, the Norwegian Jon Fosse, the Antiguan Jamaica Kincaid, and the French Annie Ernaux are also in the running.
For his novels that examine the effects of migration on individuals and societies, Tanzanian-born, United Kingdom-based author Abdulrazak Gurnah won the award last year.
The Nobel Prize in Literature has long been criticized for its perceived bias toward European and North American authors, and Gurnah is only the sixth laureate to be born in Africa to win the award. The organization is also skewed toward men, with only 16 female winners out of a total of 118.
The literature prize was able to move past years of controversy and scandal thanks in large part to the awards given to Gurnah in 2021 and U.S. poet Louise Glück in 2020.
After sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy in 2018, causing a mass exodus of members, the Nobel literature prize was put on hold for the year. Despite the academy’s reforms, Peter Handke of Austria, who has been called an apologist for Serbian war crimes, was awarded the literature prize for 2019.
On Monday, the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to Swedish anthropologist Svante Paabo for his work decoding Neanderthal DNA, which shed light on how our immune system works.
The physics Nobel Prize was split between three researchers on Tuesday. Researchers in France, the United States, and Austria—Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger, respectively—discovered quantum entanglement, the ability of tiny particles to maintain a connection with one another even when separated, which has applications in specialized computing and information encryption.
On Wednesday, Americans Carolyn R. Bertozzi and K. Barry Sharpless, along with the Danish scientist Morten Meldal, were awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work in developing a method of “snapping molecules together” that can be used to explore cells, map DNA, and design drugs that can more precisely target diseases such as cancer.
On Friday, December 6, 2022, the Nobel Peace Prize will be presented, and on Monday, December 10, 2022, the Nobel Prize in Economics will be presented.
The winners will receive 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) in cash on December 10. The Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who established the prize in 1895, left a substantial bequest that funds it.
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