Salman Rushdie among favourites for this year’s Nobel prize for literature

The novelist, who was stabbed earlier this year as he was about to give a public lecture, is highly placed by bookmakers to win this year’s award

Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed earlier this year shortly before giving a lecture, is among the favourites to win this year’s Nobel prize for literature, according to bookmakers.

Rushdie, whose work includes the bestselling and controversial novel The Satanic Verses, was stabbed in the neck and torso as he was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York state on 12 August.

This year’s prize will be announced on Thursday and goes to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. The award is decided on by the Swedish Academy, a group of 18 people who consist of Swedish writers, linguists, literary scholars, historians and a prominent jurist.

The prize is the most prestigious literature award in the world, with the winner receiving 10m SEK (£1m).

Betting site Nicer Odds, which compares odds from a number of bookmakers, showed that the lowest odds for Rushdie winning were 13/2 on Tuesday afternoon.

If he wins, the 75-year-old British American would be the first Indian-born writer to win since poet Rabindranath Tagore took the prize in 1913.

The attack on Rushdie took place 33 years after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Iran’s supreme leader, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling on Muslims to assassinate the author a few months after The Satanic Verses was published. Although Iran has since distanced itself from the fatwa, it has never formally been lifted.

Just two weeks before the attack, Rushdie told the German news magazine Stern that his life was “very normal again”.

Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of wounding Rushdie and charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree assault. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Also on Nicer Odds’ Nobel prize for literature list alongside Rushdie on Tuesday was French author Michel Houellebecq, with odds of 5/1. Last year’s bookmaker’s favourite, Annie Ernaux, was again towards the top of the list, with odds of 5/1, while Canadian poet Anne Carson was showing odds of 4/1.

Nicer Odds was also showing odds on Haruki Murakami (12/1), Margaret Atwood (9/1) and Stephen King (17/1).

Last year’s winner was Abdulrazak Gurnah for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”. Other recent winners include Kazuo Ishiguro, Louise Glück and Olga Tokarczuk.


Sarah Shaffi

The GuardianTramp

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