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

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio

Herta Mueller
SHOCKING REVELATION! NOBEL LIT PRIZE
HAS BEEN PICKED BY A ROBOT SINCE 1994!

Swedish Academy Comes Clean. Bjørg-the-Cyborg
is Fired.  Human Judges Pick Longshot Ian McEwan!

by Ted Gioia

In a stunning revelation, the Swedish Academy admitted today that it
is ending a secret program that has left the selection of the Nobel
Prize in literature to a robot.  "My predecessor Horace Engdahl
implemented the program in the mid-1990s," Academy Secretary
Peter Englund sheepishly admitted in a press conference, "since it just
got too hard for the judges to read all
those books in all those damn languages."

The experiment backfired, and the
Academy has decided to pull the plug
on Bjørg-the-Cyborg after a series of
embarrassing selections tarnished
the Nobel's reputation.  "The problem,"
Englund explained, "was that the
robot had no literary taste.  He just
picked winners on the basis of
ideology, demographics and various
political considerations."

"We knew we had to act when we saw
his selection for this year.  He would
have chosen a dispossessed Romanian
woman writing in German.  It just hit on
all Bjørg's programmed parameters."

Englund was vague on what these parameters were, but admitted
that the quality of the writing had not been a factor in the robot's
decision-making.

A panel of real human judges was hastily convened after the robot's
dismissal.  Their choice of Ian McEwan ran in the face of the bookie's
100-to-1 offered odds against a British male novelist getting the
award in 2009.

*                *                *                *

Below is a complete list of past winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature
from an alternative universe.
Contact Ted Gioia at
tedgioia@hotmail.com

Visit his web site at
www.tedgioia.com

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"Writers, unlike most people, tell their best
lies when they are alone."
Michael Chabon

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a kind of library."
  
Jorge Luis Borges

Make no mistake, those who write long books
have nothing to say.  Of course those who
write short books have even less to say."  
  
Mark Danielewski

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best
friend.  Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."  
Groucho Marx

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J.W. Eagan
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YEAR

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1905

1906

1907

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1911

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2009
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

Don DeLillo

Ian McEwan
Background:  In 2007, I wrote an article
on what the Nobel Prize in Literature might
look like in an alternative universe.  This
little piece generated a surprising amount
of discussion and debate (
see original
article here and the 2008 article here).   

The premise was simple.  As I wrote then:
"Imagine 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!)."

I had some hopes that the judges in
Stockholm would make a 2009 alt-reality
award unnecessary.  Well. I guess there's
always next year...
THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE FROM AN ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE
THE LITERARY TABLOID
THE ALT REALITY NOBEL PRIZE '09