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Dan Halperin, publisher of Ecco, one of Transtromer’s U.S. publishers and an imprint of HarperCollins, also welcomed the award, saying Transtromer’s poetry is unique: “dense, rich and completely its own thing.”

On Thursday the availability of Transtromer’s work in English was highly limited, making any post-Nobel sales bump difficult. Copies of “The Great Enigma,” “The Half-Finished Heaven” and his “Selected Poems” were out of stock on and no digital editions exist.

British bookmaker Ladbrokes said a surge of late bets on Thursday had made Transtromer the 4/6 favorite for the prize.

“He was second favorite to begin with and stayed quite prominent throughout,” said spokesman Alex Donohue.

“This morning he became the favorite after a surge of late bets, several of which were from Sweden,” he said, adding the betting pattern wasn’t suspicious.

“The nearer you get to the event, there are always going to be people who have an idea of what is going on … we’re certainly not suggesting anything untoward was going on.”

The Nobel Prize, considered one of the highest accolades in literature, is given only to living writers. The academy’s choices sometimes spark heated debate among literature experts.

Some of its previous picks were obscure even to literature experts, while others were widely celebrated authors decorated with numerous other awards.

Acclaimed writers who never won the Nobel include Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, James Joyce and Graham Greene.


Karl Ritter in Stockholm and AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report.