A reminder, if any were needed, that while everybody has their favourites, the Nobel committee regularly chooses a peace prize laureate no one was really expecting:
So far this week, on Monday the Nobel committee awarded the prize in medicine to the Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries about how the human body perceives temperature and touch.
The Nobel prize in physics went on Tuesday to Sykuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi, whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.
On Wednesday Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan were named as laureates of the Nobel prize for chemistry for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides.
On Thursday the Nobel prize for literature was awarded to the British-based Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, recognised for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee”.
And on Monday next week the prize for outstanding work in the field of economics will be awarded.
Last year’s winner of the the award and $1m cash prize was the World Food Programme for its efforts to combat global hunger, particularly in areas of conflict.
This year, according to bookies.com, the favouries are:
World Health Organization (including Covax and Gavi, the vaccine alliance) 7/4
Reporters Without Borders 10/1
Alexei Navalny 12/1
Greta Thunberg 12/1
Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya 12/1
Nathan Law Kwun-chung 16/1
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 16/1
Bill Gates 20/1
Joe Biden 20/1
But bear in mind the Nobel committee is famously unpredictable …
The full list of nominations is kept secret, but nominators are free to disclose them. In recent years, Norway’s MPs have tended to release names of their nominees in advance – six of the last seven winners appeared on those lists.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee – five individuals appointed by the Norwegian parliament, often retired politicians, lawyers and academics – choose the winner (and can make their own nominations).
They meet once a month after nominations close on 31 January each year, counselled by a group of permanent advisers and other experts. They try to reach a consensus, but if they can’t then their decision is by majority vote.
This year, there are 329 candidates for the peace prize, the Nobel committee has said. How do nominations work?
According to the will of the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who founded the awards, the prize should go to the person “who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses”.
Prospective laureates can be nominated by members of governments and parliaments; current heads of state; university professors of history, social sciences, law and philosophy; and former Nobel peace prize laureates, among others. The full list is kept locked away in a vault for 50 years.
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the 2021 Nobel peace prize, whose winner is due to be announced at a ceremony in Oslo in an hour’s time, at 11am CET.
We’ll be bringing you news of the buildup, the result and the reaction to the award of what is probably the world’s best-known prize. Previous laureates include Malala Yousafzai, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Lio Xiaobo and Mikhail Gorbachev.
This year’s nominees include the environmental activist Greta Thunberg, the Belarusian human rights activist and politician Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya and the jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
Organisations nominated include Black Lives Matter, the World Health Organization, the Covax vaccine sharing body, and the press freedom groups Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.