I came across a thought provoking article on Electric Literature's website titled, Do We Still Need the Nobel Prize in Literature? by Carrie V. Mullins. In the article, Carrie V. Mullins wrote the following:
The Nobel Prize has been awarded in five categories since 1895, and over that time it has gained a serious amount of cultural cachet. You probably respect a Nobel laureate even if you don’t know much, if anything, about the actual criteria considered for the prize. Nobel stipulated that the prize for literature should honor the person who produced “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.” It’s a vague directive, and one that has caused many issues of interpretation. Sara Danius, who was the Permanent Secretary of the Academy until she resigned last year, once told an audience at Duke, her alma matter, “What does it take to win the Nobel Prize in Literature? What do I know? I don’t know. All I know is that the criteria are simple, but tough. You get awarded not for a single work, but for a life’s work. You are expected to come up with something new in terms of content or form or both. And that is how you win the Nobel Prize in Literature.” In short, it’s an easily manipulated set of standards, and we just have to accept that the Academy knows what it’s doing. The problem is, that’s no longer obvious.Carrie V. Mullins makes some good points in her article. Click on the above link to read the entire article.