J.K. Rowling + the Nobel Prize Debate

A couple weeks ago Jeff O’Neal of Book Riot wrote a provocative article which started the discussion about J.K. Rowling as a writer deserving of the title Nobel Laureate. It has gotten the literary community stirring with quite a debate.

The Nobel prize often brings underdogs of literature into the limelight much in the same way that Sundance calls our attention to often under-rated, independent films. Alfred Nobel intended for this prestigious award to recognize “literary excellence.” But who says literary excellence can’t take the form of mass-market fiction? If J.R.R. Tolkien couldn’t receive the award after being nominated by C.S. Lewis in 1961, then who? Setting aside artistic and subjective elements, shouldn’t literature which is beloved by millions of readers across many generations stand a chance?

At HPB, we applaud authors who spark imaginations and ignite a passion for reading. So while the bar may be set a little too high for J.K. Rowling to win a Nobel prize for her contribution to literature, we believe she deserves our praise. After all, she’s inspired a new generation of readers. And writers, too. And the characters she created in her books will live on for generations to come.

What do you think? What author do you think deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

2 thoughts on “J.K. Rowling + the Nobel Prize Debate

  1. What difference does it make, really? Ms. Rowling is successful in most every sense of the word. She is partially responsible for young folks (and some of us not-too-young) discovering or re-discovering the love of reading a book. In an age of everything electronic, that's quite an accomplishment in itself. Awards are usually decided upon by small groups of people who only consider what they like, not what millions of readers love. Let them give their awards within their small circle. Ms. Rowling has millions of folks who love her books. What more could any author want?

  2. I think W.S. Merwin should win a Nobel Prize in Literature. His poetry is unique in style and universal. But not just for his poetry. He has also contributed greatly to literature through his translations. In fact, if we're going to go that route, let's give the Nobel to him and Robert Bly. Both of them, through their translations, have opened up to English-language readers many poets who may have never been heard of if they hadn't translated them.

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