Renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami and Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich are among favourites with betting firms ahead of the Nobel literature prize to be announced on Thursday.
Top betting firm Ladbrokes offered Murakami -- an eternal favourite with Nobel-watchers with his books like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore and IQ84 -- a high 5/1 odds.
Alexievich, a Belarusian investigative journalist and prose writer is known for her books The Boys of Zinc, on the Afghan war, and Voices from Chernobyl.
Stockholm-based literary critics also suggested it was time for the academy to award an African writer such as Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o, who also has high odds with Ladbrokes or the Somali author Nuruddin Farah.
The $1.1 million Nobel Literature prize is keenly watched and debated, especially since the Swedish Academy has a reputation for picking authors relatively unknown to the English-speaking world, over ones more famous among critics and the public.
For instance, the choice of Austria's Elfriede Jelinek in 2004, who was largely unknown outside the German-speaking world, French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio in 2008 and Chinese novelist Mo Yan in 2012 caught even critics by surprise.
The academy also takes into consideration poets, playwrights and other types of writers, and not just novelists.
The prize is also known for some notable omissions: Czech author Milan Kundera, Israeli writer Amos Oz and American writer Philip Roth are among those still in waiting.
By convention the Swedish academy never gives any indication of the choice , or of the names that are considered and the deliberations are sealed for 50 years.
(With AFP inputs)