Power to the People
I recently came across this article which discusses the rejection of JRR Tolkien for the Nobel Prize in 1961. This information became public in 2011, 50 years after the decision was made. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has become a celebrated author (to think, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize over 50 years ago and his work is still widely read, that speaks to the influence of his work), but it was decided that his writing was not up to snuff for the Nobel Prize. However, the winner the year Tolkien was rejected was, um, Ivo Andric… Do you hear those crickets?
The article also listed other authors who were rejected for the highly esteemed Nobel Prize and those authors included Jorge Luis Borges, Graham Greene, Anthony Powell, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and Robertson Davies. At least Tolkien was in good company.
I believe this is just another example of why what constitutes “good” literature shouldn’t be left to the discretion of a few, but rather be a decision delegated to the readers, who are, after all, the people who actively support authors and their work.