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A Nobel for Bob Dylan? David L. Ulin and Carolyn Kellogg debate

September 18, 2012|By Carolyn Kellogg

Join book critic David L. Ulin and me for an online conversation about literary awards season Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Among the more baffling suggestions in recent years has been that Bob Dylan might be awarded a Nobel Prize in literature. Currently, the musician is running second only to writer Haruki Murakami at the British betting house Ladbrokes.

Dylan is certainly a sexier choice to American watchers than, say, Chinese writer Mo Yan, Dutch author Cees Noteboom or Albania's Ismail Kadare. It's true that none of them can write a song like Dylan, and he has a respectable, even outstanding publishing record for a rock musician. But there is a difference between an (admittedly incomparable) musical output and a body of world-class literature -- isn't there?

It will be a few weeks before the Nobel Prize in literature is announced, and the Man Booker Prize will follow shortly after. Unlike the Nobel, whose list of possible contenders is little more than speculation, we do know who might win the Man Booker. The shortlist is just six authors: previous winner Hilary Mantel along with Tan Twan Eng, Deborah Levy, Alison Moore, Will Self, and Jeet Thayil. Who do we think will emerge with the prize? Do we really have any idea?

Join us here at 10 a.m. to find out. If you'd like to tell us what you think about the literary prize countdown, do so via Twitter @latimesbooks.

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Join Carolyn Kellogg on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

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