With humour, wit and insight David Carter provides an account of the trials and tribulations of the Nobel Prize in Literature, together with tongue-in-cheek guidelines for the would-be laureate. There are acclaimed writers — James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain — who never won the Nobel Prize — and others, less well-known, such as Henryk Sienkiewicz, Paul Heyse and Wladyslaw Reymont, who did. What do you have to do to impress, or be snubbed by the Nobel Committee? Using the device of a set of guidelines for the would-be laureate, the book explores many of the unusual and controversial decisions made by the committee over the years. The reader can discover the many quirky considerations that hopeful writers must bear in mind. Certain factors always help, such as 'being a man' and 'having your work translated into Swedish'. Presenting interesting quotes from the presentation and acceptance speeches and from other sources in the writers' works, David Carter provides answers to some intriguing questions, such as: Why did some writers refuse to accept the prize, and why were others rejected? Is there evidence for political, ideological and geographical bias in the selection? Why was it sometimes awarded to two writers and sometimes not at all? What does it actually take to win?