by Matt Lynn
Labrokes have started posting odds for the Nobel Prize for Literature, which will be announced next week. Funnily enough, none of The Curzon Group are on it (c'mon on guys, one of us must be worth a million-to-one!). No surprises there. And yet the list illustrates again how wide the gulf has become between literary fiction and stuff that actually has any impact on people. The only writer in ythe top ten who I can imagine any of us have ever read is Philip Roth. The only one who could possibly be described as entertaining is Umberto Eco. And the only one who is likely to stand the test of time is Bob Dylan, and although the great man deserves it, the debtate about whether he was writing literature or songs would probably bore us all to death.
It wasn't always like this. The Nobel Prize used to go to genuinely mainstream authors such as George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, Ernest Hemmingway, Boris Pasternak or John Steinbeck. They are all great storytellers, but no one like that gets a look in any more. If they did, surely Tom Woolfe would be a certainty for the prize.