We're down to the wire: the Swedish Academy will announce the Nobel Prize in literature this Thursday at 1:00 pm Stockholm time. This decision breaks with the tradition of holding the literature prize till the week after the others, which could suggest an early consensus (or, more cynically, pressure to coincide with the Frankfurt Book Fair, itself early this year). Ladbrokes shows usual suspects Haruki Murakami at 5/2, Joyce Carol Oates at 4/1, and Alice Munro at 8/1, neck and neck with Hungary's Péter Nádas. They're followed by a dark horse, Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse (9/1); you can read an excerpt from his Night Sings Its Songs in our March 2006 issue. Ko Un, Assia Djebar, Thomas Pynchon, Adonis, and Philip Roth round out the top ten names. After an early surge that triggered a brief suspension of betting, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o drops to thirteenth at 20/1. As mentioned previously, Ladbrokes is suspiciously accurate, so we'll be monitoring right up to Thursday. I'll be in Frankfurt, hanging around with everyone else hunched over their phones and dodging the flying wedge of editors rushing to the stand of the lucky publisher, so will report on the announcement in real time. In the meantime, speculations, comments, and rude remarks about Bob Dylan (not in general. Just in this context) encouraged.