nobel choices

Via Moby, I hear that the Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced this Thursday and that the Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said is considered one of the front-runners. If you’re wondering who the hell is Ali Ahmad Said, well, you’re not alone. He’s better known as Adonis (or Adunis). (Still no help? Get thee to a bookstore.) Adonis is not as popular as Mahmoud Darwish in the Arab world, but he’s still widely read and respected. Here’s my problem. While I think that Adonis is deserving, I’m irked about reports that the choice is motivated by desires to appease Arab audiences after the Iraq war. Adonis should win on the strength of his work, not because the time is right. (By the way, I was equally annoyed in 2001 when the Academy chose notorious Arab-basher V.S. Naipaul as the recipient so soon after the WTC attacks.) Anyway. Time to link. Collections by Adonis available online: The Pages of Day and Night. If Only the Sea Could Sleep.