The Nobel
You will be relieved to learn that I am abandoning my campaign for the Nobel Prize in Literature. I have not yet decided whether to refuse it if offered (the $1.3 million would be tempting), but I shall not continue actively to pursue it.

It is not that I disapprove of the selections the committee has made. J. M. Coetzee is no doubt as deserving, from some points of view, as any of the candidates I might have chosen. (Mario Vargas Llosa, for example, was on my personal short list.) It is simply that I have decided that pursuit of any such prize -- Pulitzer, National Book Award, or whatever -- will constrain my art. I don't want to feel that I have to intuit and then meet the criteria for excellence of some committee. I did that once (for my Ph.D. dissertation), and I know the work suffered.

I am aware that my withdrawal leaves the way open to any of the others of you who may be contenders. And if that's your aim, I wish you the best of luck! As for me, I am just going to write whatever pleases me, or confronts my own demons (as Ernesto Sabato calls them), and any of those committees can just take it or leave it.

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