Oct 8, 2014 9:34 AM

French author popular bet for literature Nobel

The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) Betting on French novelist Patrick Modiano to win the Nobel Prize in literature has surged before the award's announcement on Thursday.

Modiano, author of "Missing Person," rose to sixth place in betting firm Ladbrokes' ranking Wednesday after being heavily backed by smaller-staking customers, Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge said.

His odds were lowered to 10/1, from more than 50/1 last week.

Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o remains the bettors' favorite, ahead of Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Belarusian investigative journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich, and Syrian poet Adonis.

Bridge said a late gamble is also starting to develop on Philip Roth as it looks like some bettors consider it likely that an American author will pick up the prize. Roth was ninth in the rankings on Wednesday with odds of 12/1.

In previous years, odds on the winning author have sometimes plunged shortly before the announcement even though the Nobel jury seeks to avoid leaks. In 2008, French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio's odds dropped sharply in the final hours before he was revealed as the winner.

Other times, such movements have meant nothing. Last year, the odds on Alexievich fell sharply the day before the jury said the winner was Alice Munro of Canada.

In the last three years, the winner has been among the top five in the betting list, Bridge said. But the lucky few who bet on Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa in 2010 or British novelist Doris Lessing in 2007 fetched 25, and 50 times the money, respectively.


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