Well, first of all, obviously, they could write their asses off, like I can. They were autistic, I'm autistic. Joyce (1882 -1941) and Wittgenstein (1889-1951) didn't win the Nobel Prize in Literature (and it's not awarded posthumously), and I haven't won it yet. I'm not dead, but I'm freakin 54. Dead, no, grumpy, yes.
Doeblin, Musil, Allen Ginsberg, Ezra Pound, -- didn't win Nobels. All those Scandanavian writers nobody's ever heard of who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, you know who didn't? August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen.
Today they announced the 2015 Literature Nobel, and as you can see, I'm not taking it well. They awarded it to some Belorussian lady, I'm sure she's a wonderful person and very deserving, yada yada, and that her books are magnificent, blah blah blah.
So. Maybe I'll have a great year between now and next October, a huge year, become rich and famous. If I do, of course, it will greatly increase my odds of winning a Nobel ("for his hilarious, poignant and profound blog posts about why he deserves it"), and of course, because of the Tom Petty Ab-So-Lute-Ly Backwards Law of Microeconomics, it will also mean that I will no longer NEED one.
James Joyce really could've used one, that guy dedicated himself to his art, and his art didn't sell during his lifetime. Vincent Van Gogh all over again except that Joyce handled the commercial failure and lack of fame much better. (And better than I am at the moment, yeah, yeah.) I don't know whether Wittgenstein really needed a Nobel, he had a day job as a Cambridge professor.
But it still woulda been nice.
Still. Most Nobel laureates have been magnificent writers, that's why I feel I'm not going out on a limb to say that Svetlana Alexievich probably is too. Who knows, maybe she's so magnificent, and the prize will give her enough recognition, that it will be she who finally turns human life away from its nightmarish aspects, and then I won't need a Nobel even if I don't make a huge splash.