Norwegian author and playwright Jon Fosse wins Nobel Literature Prize

Norwegian author and playwright Jon Fosse wins Nobel Literature Prize
Norwegian author and playwright Jon Fosse wins Nobel Literature Prize

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - STOCKHOLM — Norwegian author, playwright and poet Jon Fosse has been named the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Swedish Academy said on Thursday it was for his "innovative plays and prose which gives voice to the unsayable".

As well as the prize, Fosse receives 11 million Swedish kronor (£822,000).

He admitted he was "overwhelmed and somewhat frightened" by the win. Speaking to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK he said he had "prepared myself mentally" that this day might come.

The 64-year-old's major works include the novels 1989's Boathouse and Melancholy I and II from 1995-1996.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre led the tributes, tweeting: "A great recognition of a unique authorship that makes an impression and touches people all over the world.

"All of Norway congratulates and is proud today!"

Previous winners of the prize -- given for a body of work, rather than a book -- have included Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Bob Dylan.

Born in 1959, Fosse's works span 40 plays plus novels, essays, poetry collections, children's books and translations.

Nobel Prize body, the Swedish Academy said he "blends the nature of his Norwegian background with artistic technique" and is commended for "exposing human anxiety and ambivalence at its core" in his works.

His works have been translated into numerous languages around the world, and he is already laden with international awards.

The organizers said Fosse could be compared to previous great writers like fellow Norwegian Tarjei Vesaas as well as Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Georg Trakl and Franz Kafka.

Nobel committee chairman Anders Olsson said he was "a fantastic writer in many ways".

"He touches you so deeply when you read him, and when you have read one work you have to continue," he said.

"What is special with him is the closeness in his writing. It touches on the deepest feelings that you have - anxieties, insecurities, questions of life and death - such things that every human being actually confronts from the very beginning.

"In that sense I think he reaches very far and there is a sort of a universal impact of everything that he writes. And it doesn't matter if it is drama, poetry or prose - it has the same kind of appeal to this basic humanness."

His novels, the academy said, are "heavily pared down to a style that has come to be known as 'Fosse minimalism'".

Olsson praised his plays including Someone Is Going to Come, The Name, Dreams of Autumn and Death Variations, for their "radical reduction of language and dramatic action".

Fosse's "magnum opus in prose", he said, was his recent Septology — made up of seven parts collected in three volumes: The Other Name, I Is Another and A New Name.

The monologue, which progresses seemingly endlessly and without a single full stop over a timespan of seven days, depicts an elderly artist speaking to himself as another person.

"The Septology is a major work, being at the same time as his attempt at reconciliation with his own fate, an elegy to his dead wife [and] dealing with his own career as a painter," Olsson said.

For readers seeking something shorter, Fosse's 2000 novella Morning and Evening is "a wonderful little piece", Olsson said.

The Nobel prizes, awarded since 1901, recognise achievement in literature, science, peace and latterly economics.

The literature prize is awarded to "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction", according to the 1895 will of Swedish businessman and philanthropist Alfred Nobel.

There was no public shortlist for the award, but Salman Rushdie, Can Xue, Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami were thought to be among the other possible contenders.

Last year, it was won by French writer Annie Ernaux, for what the panel said was an "uncompromising" 50-year body of work exploring "a life marked by great disparities regarding gender, language and class". — BBC

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