Why is not Tom Wolfe a Nobel Prize Winner?

Why is not Tom Wolfe a Nobel Prize Winner?
Isabel del Rio

Tom Wolfe, American author, is not only important for his topics but for his new way of writing and of conceiving a novel.

Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe

Some days ago, Yareah magazine published that the Chinese author Mo Yan was the new Nobel Prize of Literature 2012. According to the words of the Swedish Academy is a writer ‘who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary’.

Very well, maybe he is a fantastic author, but I’m a little disappointed by the fact that year after year, they gave the Nobel Prize of Literature to someone who nobody previously knew.

In 1989, the winner was Camilo Jose Cela and in 1990, Octavio Paz. Of course, I have read books by them and I felt proud of sharing positive feelings with their work. In 1991, the winner was Nadine Gordimer and some famous authors won the reward during the 90’s: Dario Fo, Jose Saramago or Gunter Grass (fantastic authors). But with the new century, things changed and they started to be rewarded authors with any influenced in the Western literature (Vargas Llosa exception). No problem, I’m open-minded and I like to know new points of view. It’s always important to have new objectives and new authors and ideas to discover and it’s ridiculous to think than only the Western literature is important and enough for Western people.

However, what does it happen with the most important Western authors of the last 30 years? Why don’t they deserve the Nobel Prize of Literature?

Tom Wolfe: The Bonfire of the Vanities

Tom Wolfe: The Bonfire of the Vanities

I miss Umberto Eco on the list of winners. ‘The Name of the Rose’ is a great novel but, what it’s more important, it is the novel of the 80’s and the novel which has influenced following books until today. Umberto Eco revived the historical novel and consequently, historical cinema, TV series, scripts…

But if Eco is important by his topic, Tom Wolfe is also important by his new way of writing and of conceiving a novel: as a newspaper report. ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’ (1987) marked a time and created the stereotypes of current WASPs (Sherman McCoy), assistant district attorneys (Larry Kramer), journalists (Peter Fallow) or black activists (Reverend Reginald Bacon). Tom Wolfe describes New York so perfectly that afterwards, New York is the world of ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’. Then, Tom Wolfe ’s World.

‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’ created a new literary movement following for the next generation of authors. However, Tom Wolfe is not a Nobel Prize, the same as Umberto Eco, and I cannot understand this fact except if I think in political reasons.

James Joyce, the most important author of the 20th century is not a Nobel Prize, but we can think he died soon and the Academy didn’t have time to nominate him. Tom Wolfe is an old person, he cannot live 200 years waiting for some literary sensibility in the Swedish Academy.

I will read Mo Yan, of course, and perhaps I will be happy of this new discovering thanks to the Swedish Academy but I will keep on asking myself: ‘Why is not Tom Wolfe a Nobel laureate?

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