I used to go on a protest march after the Nobel Literature prize. It was usually handed to some moron who could not write. Lately, I have been reconsidering its merit. Over the last twenty years, it has gone to twelve writers, poets I admire. If like, Petronius, I am “arbiter elegantiae”, that is not a bad count. Maybe someone in the Swedish Academy actually reads.
But they come up with terrible goofs like Elfriede Jelinek. The only reason I remember Jelinek is her fondness for Urolagnia. I am sure the only people who celebrated where the Urolagniac club, who sprayed each other with their own brand of champagne under a large photograph of Morarji Desai. Of course that prize led to Knut Ahnlund´s resignation, and lucky seat # 7 will be forever left empty.
I have to admit that I have not read Harold Pinter or Doris Lessing. Even so, I thought that Pinter delivered one of the best nobel lectures in recent times, but possiblyLessing´s was better.
Of course, my friend Amit Varma liked one of the worst speeches of recent times, that too of a brilliant writer, Orhan Pamuk. It starts wonderfully, talking about the silence, the room of one´s own every writer needs. And then it ends bathetically, with effusive thanks to his father, like Halle Berry´s Oscar speech. What is worse, is that I am sure no one in the Swedish Academy read “Cevdet Bey and his sons”, the novel his father praised, because it was never translated from the Turkish. Just goes to show that you should award these prizes only when people are really old, and all near and dear ones have popped off too long ago for anyone to remember.