The Strange Culture of Betting on the Nobel Prize in Literature
By: Emily Stewart
There are perhaps very few things that are quite as prestigious as the Nobel Prize, and receiving one for literature could very well be the pinnacle of a writer’s career. The ceremony is a momentous occasion, and the award is nearly every aspiring author’s dream. The honor is awarded after careful study of an author’s technique and craft, and throughout the years, a wide range of laureates has been named for a variety of reasons, from the mastery of a genre to the skillful use of technique. Every year, worthy candidates are lined up and meticulously analyzed, and every year, one candidate is awarded the honor. The process begins as early as September, and throughout the following year, nominees are whittled down to the best.
With such a rigorous process involved in the determination of the laureate, it comes as a surprise that still, every year, droves of people come together to bet on who will receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Betting on the Nobel Prize in Literature has become a rather strong industry, just as awards betting in general has continued to evolve. As the candidates for the prize are announced, people begin to take notes of their favorites, and betting appears to be a way to show their support as well as make a little more money on the side. Of course, the methods used by bookers to determine the odds for each nominee have been questioned, and some have called them downright unreliable, but this hasn’t stopped thousands from engaging in the activity.
Although many believe that this type of betting is still restricted to sporting events, over the years, we’ve seen betting transcend into awards shows and other entertainment formats. Information on Betfair shows that many have taken to betting on the BRIT Awards, Big Brother, and even Top Gear. But just because so many are engaging in the activity, does it mean we should participate in betting on the Nobel Prize? Time says that we shouldn’t even bother. As Daniel D’Addario puts it, “The real frontrunner for the prize, if history is guide, is someone we’re not thinking of — an exciting twist ending.”