By Karolina Kezdi
You shouldn’t be proud of yourself
’The one award that means the most to me that my alumni will eventually win, is the Nobel Prize. I know it sounds stupid, but I absolutely believe it.’ / Marc Lewis
We can make it! I have a plan.
How can you win a Nobel prize? You’ve got to be nominated, and – what a surprise – you can’t nominate yourself. You have to be nominated by someone else, for example, thousands of academic members, members of national assemblies and national governments, university professors, scientists, or previous Nobel Prize Winners.
So the mission is easy: we just have to find one of those people and convince them to nominate one of us. If you are going to do something, do it with style, so I targeted Nobel prize winners. I needed someone whose field is more creative, lives in London, and is still alive.
Kazuo Ishiguro is a Japanese-born British novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer and one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world. In 2017 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his works that “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world” and he lives in Golders Green.
I believe in my personal charm, so I wrote a letter, an old fashioned physical one, and knocked on his door in Golders Green. His wife opened the door and she was extremely nice until the point when she realized we aren’t from any religious organization or charity. She said we are the first ones who have ever turned up at their home, and we shouldn’t be proud of ourselves for this.
(I apologize again here.) Even if it was clear that we were harmless and we just wanted to hand our letter and a random pineapple. A random pineapple is the best way to break the ice and seems less specious than when you want to leave an envelope at someone’s house. She asked us to do it in the official way and take the letter to his publisher. I did, with the random pineapple. His manager’s secretary was lovely and she promised she would give him both, but I’m impatient and hate uncertainty.
I needed a quicker answer. I was lucky, because next week on the Oxford Literary Festival “Sir Kazuo Ishiguro talked about his life and work, in conversation with Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden, and receives the Bodley Medal – awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the worlds in which the Bodleian is active including literature, culture, science and communication.”
This is my opportunity! I bought the last ticket, it was absolutely sold out after me, and on a Wednesday afternoon after school, I got on the train and went to Oxford, the first time in my life, to listen to this talk.
Absolutely worth it! I even made notes. “Could an Artifical Intelligence be Tolstoy the Third?” “Could an Artifical Intelligence make up and lead a political party?”, “Who’s a writer writing for? The present or the future?”, “Should we be an expert in participating in a conversation?”
That talk just confirmed me he was the right choice. He never settles, he thinks differently, he’s able to always renew, he’s curious and open-minded.
After the talk I joined the queue to have my book that I’ve read on the train to Oxford dedicated and one hour later when he signed my first page I invited him to SCA.
He refused really politely. Maybe next time 🙂