I agree with you regarding your distaste for politics being a factor in awarding the prize. That said, the Nobel Committee itself does not seem to shy away from the notion that factors beyond literature often play a role in their decisions. Check out this article posted on their website: www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/articles/espmark/index.html
Every once in a while, though, the political angle strangely works out. Most people believed Naipaul, for example, would never win the prize due to his controversial (and not very generous) takes on Islam, Africa, and the Third World generally. Many also believed, however, that he was one of the world's best writers and totally deserving of the prize. (This actually played out in my family, as well. Most in my family despise the man for turning his back on and disparaging the West Indies and our Indo-Caribbean heritage; I find this unfortunate, too, but I think what he accomplished in literature made him worthy of the prize regardless.)
In any case, nobody expected him to win due to his politics. But then 9/11 happened, a window was opened, and one month later, Naipaul won the prize. I was happy (my family was not), though in the aftermath, it bothered me that he then became (less so in England than in the U.S.) this spokesperson, this supposed expert on Islam, and books like "A House for Mr. Biswas" and "A Bend in the River" which earned him the prize in the first place, barely got a mention.
On another note, I was just reading the NY Times and saw a review of Michael Ondaatje's new novel. The more I thought about it, the more I can see him winning it, too. In addition to writing several excellent novels, he's also an accomplished poet, and he wrote one of the best and most enjoyable memoirs I've ever read ("Running in the Family"). Also, he's a writer who can be claimed by both East (Sri Lanka) and an underrepresented country in the West (Canada), something that might appeal to the Nobel Committee, as well.
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