From the vaults: Kitabkhana, Hurree Babu’s old blog, in 2005 on how the Nobel Literature laureate is chosen.

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.”