…for breaking its code of omerta and offering some sort of gossip.
First, the Academy delayed the announcement of the Nobel Prize for Literature by a week, sparking off rumours that its members had agreed to disagree.
(This is always a difficult decision: “Vargas Llosa?” “Na, too famous…” “Kundera?” “Na, it’ll look like we’re bowing down to the pressure exerted by a reading public incredulous that we hadn’t given it to him before.” “Okay, Rushdie?” “Na, we forgot to support him during the fatwa, remember? We’ll look like we’re apologising…” “Philip Roth?” “We-ell..great writer, but I have to say no. Never been able to eat liver since I read Portnoy’s Complaint, still hold that against him.” “I thought it was his narrator who held liver against his…” “Never mind. Don’t we have any obscure poets on the list?” “Plenty!” “Great, then we hold them in reserve. Unless someone wants to ruin our record by giving the Prize to someone who really, really deserves it?” (Raucous laughter.) “Didn’t think so.”)
Then Knut Ahlund woke up to the fact that Elfriede Jelinek had won the Nobel last year and resigned, this year, a little late off the mark, but who cares?
Then there was the whole sea of Pamuk speculation.
And as of two minutes ago, the Academy redeemed itself as far as I’m concerned. Harold Pinter is the new Nobel Literature Laureate. I’m going out to celebrate; updates later.