Is a new eclectic Nobel Literature winner on tap? Stay tuned

STOCKHOLM (AP) — After two consecutive years of unconventional choices for the Nobel Literature Prize, observers are wondering if the Swedish Academy’s adventurous streak will continue.

Haruki Murakami of Japan, whose works fuse the realistic and the fantastic, and Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o, whose political work forced him to leave for the United States, are seen as top contenders for the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize being awarded Thursday.

In 2015, a rare Nobel Literature prize for a non-fiction writer went to Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus. Last year’s award to American Bob Dylan sparked a debate about if popular song lyrics can legitimately be considered literature.

Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist and inventor whose will established the prizes, said he wanted the literature award to honor “ideal” work, without defining the term.

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