Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Wizard Nobel Sentiments


I've not been blogging lately because I've been busy working on a novel (i.e. having a lazy summer doing nothing). But I was browsing a literary gossip site earlier and I read something I wanted to share. The 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced soon - on a Thursday (yet to be revealed) in October, in fact. And there's a degree of speculation about who the winner might be. A fair amount of money seems to be being bet on Cormac McCarthy getting the prize this year, or perhaps Don deLillo, but Benjamin Black's alter ego John Banville has also been mentioned. ["Dear GOD! Not Banville!" said one contributor. "If that arrogant prick ever got the Nobel his ego would transform into a "giant Adenoid" blob fit to consume all of Dublin!"] But the suggested winner that really fired my imagination was.... J K Rowling. Really?? Hmm. Apparently, the mother of Harry Potter is "a superb writer by any standard" and "the ... universe she created is unparalleled in modern literature. Once the dust settles on Potterdom, Rowling might be a writer worthy of consideration for the Nobel."

At first, it was assumed this contributor was joking. But there was a minor furore when someone said the Harry Pooter books were "poorly written, ill conceived and trite", drawing this impressive rationalisation:

"Being overly fond of adverbs isn't enough to totally condemn her as an author. I do believe she is of unparalleled importance, especially in what her books have done to bring not just more children into reading, but to jump-start the publishing industry into publishing more children's books. In a similar way to how Tolkien redefined high fantasy and has his spot in history for it, Rowling redefined magical fantasy and children's literature to a large degree. 40 years from now I doubt an author like Don DeLillo will be much discussed outside of 20th Century American Literature classes, but Rowling will still be eagerly looked over by young readers in 40 languages. Critical opinion will become more favorable to her as time goes on."

An interesting argument. Harry Potter - "the most outstanding work in an ideal direction ...”?