Betting Agency Gives Amos Oz 5:1 Odds on Nobel

World-renowned Israeli author Amos Oz, whose name has been bandied about as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature for several years, has a pretty good - but not great - shot at hearing his name when this year's winner is announced Thursday, according to British betting agency Ladbrokes.

Oz was given a 5:1 chance, as were American authors Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates, but according to Ladbrokes, Italian scholar and journalist Claudio Magris has the edge with odds of 3:1. Syrian poet Adonis placed in the middle, with 4:1 odds.

"You won't believe it, but I don't feel anything special," Oz said yesterday, regarding his chances of winning the Nobel Prize. "I've received my share of the prizes I deserve, and even beyond. I'm not sitting and expecting to get the Nobel. They call from around the world to ask for interviews and reserve ahead of time, but I really feel that I've gotten my share."

Oz, who won the Israel Prize for Literature in 1998, is writing a collection of short stories due to be published this year. Local and international sales of his previous book, the 2001 memoir "A Tale of Love and Darkness," recently passed the 1 million mark.

Israel, meanwhile, also has another novelist on the Ladbrokes list: A.B. Yehoshua, who was given a 25:1 chance. Singer and songwriter Bob Dylan is at the bottom of the list, with a 150:1 chance of winning the literature prize.

The New York Times published an article this week discussing the poor likelihood that American authors like Roth, Oates, John Updike and Don DeLillo have of winning, after the top member of the Nobel Prize award jury said he considers Europe to be "the center of the literary world," while the United States is too insular.

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature," Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, told the Associated Press. "That ignorance is restraining."