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Nobel Prize in Literature Predictions Are Almost Always Wrong

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

As several people have pointed out, the folks who concoct Nobel Prize for Literature odds most likely haven't done much reading. According to the Boston Globe, the bookies at Ladbrokes, a British gaming company, apply numerical value to factors such as industry chatter, an author's nationality, and historical precedent rather than the relative merits of each book. This year, the odds favor Haruki Murakami, followed by Joyce Carol Oates. But despite the efforts to tease out the politics behind the Nobel Committee's final choice, bookie predictions tend to be fairly inaccurate. Here's a quick run-down of just how infrequently Ladbrokes's front-runner has lined up with the actual winner:

Prediction: Haruki Murakami
Winner: Mo Yan
Prediction: Adonis
Winner: Tomas Transtomer
Prediction: Tomas Transtomer
Winner: Mario Vargas Llosa
Prediction: Amos Oz
Winner: Herta Muller
Prediction: Claudio Magris, Adonis
Winner: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
Prediction: Philip Roth
Winner: Dorris Lessing
Prediction: Orhan Pamuk
Winner: Orhan Pamuk
Prediction: Adonis
Winner: Harold Pinter
Prediction: Adonis
Winner: Elfriede Jelinek