Stockholm: This year's Nobel Prize season opens on Monday with rumours swirling that the Peace Prize could go to Pakistani girls' education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege or rights activists from Russia or Belarus.
The first Nobel to be announced will be the Medicine Prize on Monday, when the jury in Stockholm reveals the winner or winners around 11:30 am (0930 GMT). (Agencies)
Though, like every year, most of the speculation is on who will take home the prestigious peace and literature prizes.
A record 259 nominations have been submitted for this year's peace prize but the Norwegian Nobel Institute never discloses the list, leaving amateurs and experts alike to engage in a guessing game ahead of the October 11 announcement.
The head of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Kristian Berg Harpviken, follows the work of the peace prize committee closely and has since 2009 published his own shortlist of possible winners, though he has yet to correctly pick the laureate.
Topping his list this year is Malala, the Pakistani teen who survived a shot to the head last year by the Taliban for championing girls' education.
Harpviken said that she not only has become a symbol of girls' and children's right to education and security, but also of the fight against extremism and oppression.
However, others suggest the prize would be too heavy to bear given her young age of 16.
"I'm not sure it would be suitable, from an ethical point of view, to give the peace prize to a child," Tilman Brueck, the head of Stockholm peace research institute SIPRI, told Norwegian news agency NTB.
He suggested the award could instead go to Colombia's peace negotiators or Myanmar's reformists.
Asle Sveen, a historian specialized in the peace prize, meanwhile said he thought the five committee members could give the nod to Congolese gynaecologist Mukwege.
The doctor has set up a hospital and foundation to help thousands of women who have been raped in strife-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by local and foreign militants, as well as by soldiers in the army.
"The secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Geir Lundestad has repeatedly said that the conflict in DR Congo has not gotten enough attention," Sveen told NTB.
Human Rights Watch said the committee could also choose to honour rights activists in Russia, following the worst crackdown since the fall of the Soviet Union. Activists in Belarus, often described as Europe's last dictatorship, were another possibility, said the group.
The first Nobel to be announced will be the Medicine Prize on Monday, when the jury in Stockholm reveals the winner or winners around 11:30 am (0930 GMT).