Norwegian author Jon Fosse wins Nobel Prize in Literature-صحيفة الصوت


Norwegian author and dramatist Jon Fosse won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable,” the award-giving body said on Thursday.

Fosse, 64, has received critical acclaim in the past. His 2021 novel A New Name: Septology VI-VII was on the Booker Prize shortlist a year later, and was a finalist for the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Awards.

Fosse is the fourth Norwegian writer to be honoured in the category but the first in nearly a century as the Nobel honours have became more international in scope. The previous Norwegian literature laureates were Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1903), Knut Hamsun (1920) and Sigrid Undset (1928).

The Nobel Prize was created by wealthy Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who in his will dictated that his estate should be used to fund “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” The first awards were given out in 1901.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner to be revealed on Friday, with the economics prize announced on Monday.

‘Overwhelmed’ by the honour

The academy said that Fosse, born in Haugesund on Norway’s west coast, had produced works spanning a variety of genres including plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books and translations. He is one of the world’s most performed playwrights, it said.

“Fosse blends a rootedness in the language and nature of his Norwegian background, with artistic techniques in the wake of modernism,” Swedish Academy member Anders Olsson said.

Fosse said he was “overwhelmed and somewhat frightened.”

“I see this as an award to the literature that first and foremost aims to be literature, without other considerations,” he said in a statement.

A display of books with titles in English and Norwegian is shown, by author Jon Fosse.
Books by Fosse are displayed after the announcement of the winners of the 2023 Nobel Prize in literature at Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Thursday. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Fosse’s European breakthrough as a dramatist came with Claude Régy’s 1999 Paris production of his 1996 play Nokon kjem til å komme (Someone Is Going to Come).

His magnum opus in prose is the Septology he completed in 2021 — comprised of The Other Names: Septology I-II, I Is Another: Septology III-V and A New Name: Septology VI-VII.  

Fosse, who writes in the least common of the two official versions of Norwegian, said he regarded the award as a recognition of this language and the movement promoting it, and that he ultimately owed the prize to the language itself.

Known as “new Norwegian” and used by only about 10 per cent of the country’s population, Fosse’s version of the language was developed in the 19th century with rural dialects at its base, making it an alternative to the dominant use of Danish that followed from a 400-year union with Denmark.

According to his publisher, Fosse’s work has been translated into more than 40 languages, and there have been more than 1,000 different productions of his plays.

Much-debated category

Alongside the peace prize, literature has often drawn the most attention, and controversy, thrusting lesser known authors into the global spotlight as well as lifting book sales for well-established literary super stars.

Over the years, the literature prize has also picked winners well beyond the novelist tradition, including playwrights, historians, philosophers and poets, even breaking new ground with the award to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 2016.

Last year’s Nobel was won by France’s Annie Ernaux.

Winners of this year’s Nobel Prizes will get an extra 1 million crowns compared to last year, partly because the Swedish crown has lost around 30 per cent of its value against the euro the past decade. The prize money of 11 million Swedish crowns is the equivalent of $1.36 million Cdn.

The Nobel prizes are presented to the laureates on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The peace prize is handed out by the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel committee in Oslo, while the other prizes are presented by the Swedish king in Stockholm’s Concert Hall.


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