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US writers 'not favoured for Nobel Prize'

7th October 2009

The Swedish Academy is unlikely to hand tomorrow's (October 8th) Nobel Prize in Literature to an American writer, a commentator has suggested.

Writing for Bloomberg News, former MP George Walden pointed out that the last time the prize went to an American was when the academy recognised Toni Morrison in 1993.

'It can't have been for fine writing, so it must have been for what the French call "les bons sentiments" - the right feelings,' he suggested.

Walden, who penned his own work on the States, God Won't Save America, also claimed that the prize will not be given to US president Barack Obama for his writings.

Suggesting reasons why just a handful of Americans had taken home the honour in the past 50 years, he noted comments last year from the academy's permanent secretary at the time, Horace Engdahl, who described US authors as 'isolated, insular and ignorant'.

In addition, Walden suggested the politics of US writers were not as predictable as their European counterparts, which goes against Alfred Nobel's stipulation that the prize should go to the author who creates 'the most outstanding work in an ideal direction'.

Meanwhile, Peter Englund, a member of the Nobel literature prize jury, told the Associated Press that he believes his colleagues have been too 'Eurocentric' in picking past winners.

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