Ngugi wa Thiong’o Leads the Alternative Nobel Prize Longlist
The New Academy, which is an organisation of Swedish librarians in response to failure of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature following the sex scandal rocking the Swedish Academy developed the Alternative Nobel Prize nomination which Ngugi wa Thiong’o topped the list. Other african writers on the list are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Nnedi Okorafor. These are the only three Africans nominated.
The list had 47-names that includes such literary heavyweights like; Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, JK Rowling, Don DeLillo, Ian McEwan, Jamaica Kincaid, Margaret Atwood, Thomas Pynchon, Arundhati Roy, Donna Tartt, Zadie Smith, and Elena Ferrante. However, the award is still open for voting until August 14.
The Alternative Nobel Prize commitee justified their listing by stating that; ‘a considered author must be a writer of literary fiction who within the reader has entered the story of mankind in the world.’
Another crriterion for nomination was that the considered authors further need to have published at least two works, one of which must be within the last ten years. However, the previous Nobel Prize in Literature laureates are not eligible.
The final shortlist will have four writers. The three of whom will be voted in, the last of whom would be nominated by the librarians. Given the Nobel Prize’s questionable history of 14 female winners out of 114 laureates, The Alternative Nobel’s shortlist will be restricted and guided by gender considerations whereby two women, two men must be on the final short list .So far the longlist has been acclaimed by getting praises from several insitutions and literary societies, for example; the Book Riot has praised the list for representing a new level of diversity for the typically predictable Nobel list; the Guardian has praised the list as a wonderfully eclectic lineup.