Betting odds for the Nobel Prize in literature

A portrait of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami (Elena Seibert/Associated Press)

As literary critics and fans speculate about who will win this year's Nobel Prize in literature, British sports betting company Ladbrokes has picked Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami as the early favourite.

The prolific writer, whose acclaimed works include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and, most recently, IQ84, has been given 7 to 1 odds of winning the prestigious award, as of Monday morning. He had 10 to 1 odds last week.

Chinese author Mo Yan and Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom were deemed the next most likely winners, both with 12 to 1 odds, according to Ladbrokes.

But just because the odds are in Murakami's favour doesn't mean he's a shoe-in for the honour. Last year's winner, Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, was the company's second favourite to claim the prize, after Syria's Adonis, at 14 to 1 odds.

Some notable Canadian writers appear on the betting chart as well. Alice Munro is given the best odds of the lot at 20 to 1, followed by Margaret Atwood (50 to 1), and Michael Ondaatje and Anne Carson (each with 100 to 1 odds).