Earlier this month, Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I’ve read only one of his books — The Remains of the Day — but just from that novel alone I can see that he was deserving of fiction’s top honor. A magnificent, subtle work.
Ishiguro’s win got me thinking about living authors who have yet to receive a deserved Nobel. They include, among others, Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits, etc.), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, etc.), John Irving (The Cider House Rules, etc.), Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, etc.), Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, etc.), Philip Roth (American Pastoral, etc.), and Alice Walker (The Color Purple, etc.).
Heck, when interviewed after learning of his Nobel naming, Ishiguro mentioned how deserving Atwood is of literature’s utmost prize.
Other writers I’ve read who should at least be considered? A.S. Byatt, Margaret Drabble, Haruki Murakami, and Anne Tyler, to name a few.
And how about Stephen King? Sure, he’s a mega-mass-audience writer, but some of his novels (I’ve read 15 of them) have plenty of literary elements. Plus King’s relentless output!
Or J.K. Rowling? Not only has she written the amazing Harry Potter books but the compelling non-fantasy novel The Casual Vacancy and detective fiction.
Then there are authors I’ve never read who, from their reputations, seem Nobel-worthy. Joyce Carol Oates is one prime example.
Heck, I wish any of the many names above had won the prize last year rather than Bob Dylan, a great songwriter but hardly a Nobel fit, in my opinion.
Perhaps they haven’t had enough output or long-enough careers yet, but I could also see future Nobel Prize in Literature consideration for Junot Diaz, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Liane Moriarty, (Ms.) Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, and Donna Tartt, among others.
I’m sure I left out some very deserving names, including writers obscure to many readers. Who do you think should win the fiction Nobel who hasn’t — including authors I mentioned or didn’t mention?
My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.
In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest weekly piece, which has a Halloween theme, is here.