Haruki Murakami's Nobel Prize Odds Show He's A Favorite, But The Competition Is Too Close To Call

We're less than one week away from learning who will win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, but bookmakers — yes, people bet on this — have already chosen their favorites. Haruki Murakami's Nobel Prize odds show he's a favorite, but the race is too close to call at this time. Murakami, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Adunis all have better than 10-to-1 odds at Ladbrokes, a British online gambling agency.

There are six Nobel Prizes — Chemistry, Economic Sciences, Literature, Medicine, Peace, and Physics — and, since 1901, nearly 600 prizes have been awarded to 900 laureates and organizations. Only 49 of those laureates are women, 14 of whom won the literature prize.

Each year, the 18 members of the Swedish Academy convene to decide which nominees should be honored for their contributions to humanity. The notes of these deliberations and the names of the nominees are kept secret for 50 years.

It's important to note that each author's odds of winning are in constant flux. When I sat down to write this article, Haruki Murakami was in the lead at Ladbrokes, with 4-to-1 odds. A few short minutes later, the Japanese surrealist novelist had been unseated by Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thion'go. At the time of this writing, Thiong'o (4 to 1), Murakami (5 to 1), and Syrian poet Adunis (7 to 1) are the safest bets to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

If last year's winner, Svetlana Alexievitch, had you scratching your head, don't worry. Plenty of familiar names show up on Ladbrokes' list. Ursula Le Guin, Marilynne Robinson, and Elena Ferrante all have 50-to-1 odds, while Joan Didion, Margaret Atwood, and Salman Rushdie come in at 66 to 1.

For people who like to live dangerously, Ladbrokes gives Don Patterson, A.S. Byatt, John Ashbery, James Kelman, Hilary Mantel, and F. Sionil José each a 100-to-1 shot at winning the Nobel Prize.

Of course, Bob Dylan (50 to 1) is a much safer bet.

Find out who will win the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature on Oct. 13.