THE ALT-REALITY NOBEL
PRIZE IN LITERATURE
The Nobel Prize in Literature
from an Alternative Universe

by Ted Gioia

"I had a hunch a woman writer living in Britain would win the Nobel Prize in
Literature this year.  But I still wasn't prepared for the thrill I experienced when I
learned that J.K. Rowling had won the coveted prize.  After all, who has done
more for the cause of reading in recent decades?  The last time a British woman
had received this honor was back in 1966 when Dame Agatha Christie shared the
award with Jorge Luis Borges.  I expect Rowling's acceptance speech will rank
among the most memorable.  (Although it's hard to imagine anything topping that
moment in 1997, when Dr. Hunter S. Thompson mounted the podium in Stockholm
to share his surprising sentiments with the audience.) . . ."

No, this is not the real Nobel Prize in Literature, but the way the award might
exist in an alternative universe -- a world in which such honors are exempt from
pettiness, politics and tokenism.  Imagine a Nobel Prize in which the contributions
of Proust, Kafka, Nabokov and Joyce are not forgotten. Imagine a Nobel Prize in
Literature in which genre writers have a chance.  Imagine a Nobel Prize in
Literature that doesn't bend over backward to exclude native born U.S. writers
(only three honored during the last 52 years!).  Ah, don't just imagine . . . read
about it here.   

For my part, I'm just happy the committee from the alternative universe honored
Philip K. Dick three years before his passing.  
YEAR

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2007
ACTUAL WINNER

Sully Prudhomme

Theodor Mommsen

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray

Henryk Sienkiewicz

Giosuè Carducci

Rudyard Kipling

Rudolf Eucken

Selma Lagerlöf

Paul Heyse

Maurice Maeterlinck

Gerhart Hauptmann

Rabindranath Tagore

Romain Rolland

Verner von Heidenstam

Karl Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan

Carl Spitteler

Knut Hamsun

Anatole France

Jacinto Benavente

William Butler Yeats

Wladyslaw Reymont

George Bernard Shaw

Grazia Deledda

Henri Bergson

Sigrid Undset

Thomas Mann

Sinclair Lewis

Erik Axel Karlfeldt

John Galsworthy

Ivan Bunin

Luigi Pirandello

Eugene O'Neill

Roger Martin du Gard

Pearl Buck

Frans Eemil Sillanpää

Johannes V. Jensen

Gabriela Mistral

Hermann Hesse

André Gide

T.S. Eliot

William Faulkner

Bertrand Russell

Pär Lagerkvist

François Mauriac

Winston Churchill

Ernest Hemingway

Halldòr Laxness

Juan Ramón Jiménez

Albert Camus

Boris Pasternak

Salvatore Quasimodo

Saint-John Perse

Ivo Andric

John Steinbeck

Giorgios Seferis

Jean-Paul Sartre

Mikhail Sholokhov

Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs

Miguel Angel Asturias

Yasunari Kawabata

Samuel Beckett

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Pablo Neruda

Heinrich Böll

Patrick White

Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinson

Eugenio Montale

Saul Bellow

Vicente Aleixandre

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Odysseus Elytis

Czeslaw Milosz

Elias Canetti

Gabriel García Márquez

William Golding

Jaroslav Seifert

Claude Simon

Wole Soyinka

Joseph Brodsky

Naguib Mahfouz

Camilo José Cela

Octavio Paz

Nadine Gordimer

Derek Walcott

Toni Morrison

Kenzaburo Oe

Seamus Heaney

Wislawa Szymborska

Dario Fo

José Saramago

Günter Grass

Gao Xingjian

V. S. Naipaul

Imre Kertész

J. M. Coetzee

Elfriede Jelinek

Harold Pinter

Orhan Pamuk

Doris Lessing
ALTERNATIVE REALITY WINNER

Leo Tolstoy

George Meredith

Anton Chekhov

Jules Verne

Henrik Ibsen

Mark Twain

Rudyard Kipling

John Millington Synge

August Strindberg

W.S. Gilbert

Henry James

William Dean Howells

Georg Trakl

Guillaume Apollinaire

Sigmund Freud

Joseph Conrad

Thomas Hardy

Rainer Maria Rilke

Marcel Proust

Franz Kafka

William Butler Yeats

Miguel de Unamuno

George Bernard Shaw

Arthur Conan Doyle

Constantine P. Cavafy

Edith Wharton

Thomas Mann

F. Scott Fitzgerald

G. K. Chesterton

Zane Grey

Stefan Zweig

Luigi Pirandello

Eugene O'Neill

James Joyce

Virginia Woolf

Robert Musil

W. H. Auden

George Orwell

Hermann Broch

André Gide

T.S. Eliot

William Faulkner

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Dorothy Parker

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Wallace Stevens

Ernest Hemingway

Bertolt Brecht

Raymond Chandler

Albert Camus

E. M. Forster

Cole Porter

Ian Fleming

William Carlos Willaims

John Steinbeck

Giorgios Seferis

Jean-Paul Sartre

Jack Kerouac

Agatha Christie, Jorge Luis Borges

Vladimir Nabokov

Yukio Mishima

Samuel Beckett

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Pablo Neruda

J.R.R. Tolkein

Lionel Trilling

John Lennon, Paul McCartney

Eugenio Montale

Saul Bellow

Tennessee Williams

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Philip K. Dick

Czeslaw Milosz

Elias Canetti

Gabriel García Márquez

Graham Greene

Italo Calvino

Philip Larkin

Eugene Ionesco

Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein

Salman Rushdie

Theodor Seuss Geisel

Octavio Paz

Muriel Spark

Bob Dylan

Ralph Ellison

Stephen Sondheim

Isaiah Berlin

Stanisław Lem

Hunter Thompson

Roberto Bolaño

Tom Stoppard

Haruki Murakami

V. S. Naipaul

John le Carré

Mario Vargas Llosa

John Updike

Milan Kundera

Philip Roth

J.K. Rowling
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