The Swedish Academy has selected the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature and will announce the decision next week after a formal vote, the panel's spokesman said today.
Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the 16-member academy, said the decision will be announced on 7 October, completing the schedule for this year's prize announcements, which kick off on Monday with the medicine award.
"The winner has de facto been appointed," Englund told The Associated Press in the academy's 18th-century office in Stockholm's Old Town. "Then on Thursday we have a formal vote, but yes, we have agreed upon a laureate."
Englund declined to give any hints about the academy's choice. The selection process is shrouded in secrecy — nominations are kept secret for 50 years.
Syrian poet Adonis, Americans Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates, South Korea's Ko Un and Algerian writer Assia Djebar are among the names figuring in speculation ahead of this year's prize.
Last year's literature award went to Romanian-born German writer Herta Mueller, continuing a trend of awarding European authors.
"But I think it's important to point out it's not a result of an agenda. I think it's more a question of ... subconscious bias," Englund said. The panelists, as Europeans, find it easier to relate to European writers, he said.
"That is a problem," he said. "But we are aware of it."
The Nobel Prizes, created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, were first handed out in 1901, five years after his death. Each 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award has a separate prize jury.
The physics award will be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry on Wednesday and the Nobel Peace Prize two days later. The winners of the economics award will be revealed on 11 October. The awards are always handed out on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death.