Speculation mounted around the world on Wednesday, the eve of the Nobel Literature Prize announcement, with authors from Africa, North America and Asia all attracting bets, dpa reported
Literary critics surveyed by Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet hoped the Swedish Academy would end the US drought and pick a perennial favourite such as Philip Roth of the US or Alice Munro of Canada.
Some, including Italian daily Corriere della Sera's culture editor Paolo di Stefano, had their hopes set on Japan's Haruki Murakami.
US author Cormac McCarthy was favourite at 3.5 to 1 according to online betting site Ladbrokes, followed by Kenyan writer and playwright Ngugi wa Thiong'o at 4.5 to 1, Murakami on 7 to 1, and Hungarian novelist Peter Nadas at 10 to 1.
Two poets were also high on the list, Korean Ko Un at 13 to 1 and Syrian-born poet Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Asbar) at 14 to 1.
Roth, and fellow Americans Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo and Joyce Carol Oates were mentioned by the Washington Post's Michael Dirda while Darryl Accone of the Mail & Guardian in South Africa plumped for Elias Khory of Lebanon or Munro.
In 1993 Toni Morrison became the most recent US author to win the prize.
Other critics said it was time a poet won, noting that Wislawa Szymborska of Poland was the most recent poet to win, in 1996.
In 2009, Romanian-born German novelist Herta Mueller won the award.
Meanwhile, Bokborsen - a Swedish online second-hand book site - e- mailed its subscribers a list of available used books by some of the authors mentioned in the run up to the award, including eight titles by Adonis, five by Murakami, six by Pynchon and 69 by the prolific Oates.
There were also 18 titles and 58 albums by US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan - a long-shot.
The Nobel Literature Prize is worth 10 million kronor (1.5 million dollars), and was endowed by Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel