The Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded by the Swedish Academy since 1901 to a person who has made the greatest contribution to the field of literature, as determined by the Nobel Committee. Nominations for the prize are made by members of the Academy, members of similar academies and societies, professors of literature and language, former Nobel laureates, and presidents of author organizations.

The monetary award is a share of the interest on the endowment made by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, which is held in trust by the Nobel Foundation. Yes, the one who invented dynamite. The prize carries a financial prize of 10 million Swedish kronor, that's about £817,000. Very handy.

German writer of Romanian origin Herta Müller awarded 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature

Herta Muller, a German writer born in 1953 in a village in Western Romania, has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The jury argued its option with the ""concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose" in Muller's work, which "depicts the landscape of the dispossessed". Muller, a representative of the German ethnic minority in Romania who migrated to Germany in 1987, is currently living in Berlin.

Her works have been translated in over 20 languages and she has received many internatonal awards including  the Impac Dublin Literary Award, Kleist, Franz Kafka and the Literary Award of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation..

Her name has been figuring among the potential winners of the Nobel Prize almost yearly since 1999.

Other writers given real chances to win the Nobel for Literature this year included Israeli Amos Oz, US writers Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and Algerian writer Assia Djebar.

2008 Winner Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio | 2007 Winner Doris Lessing Feature | Winnners 1901 to 2007

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2008
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio

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Le Clézio's Work in French & Available English translations from

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leclezio9th October, 2008, Paris The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2008 is awarded to the French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio

“author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”.

Le Clézio is the first French writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature since Chinese-born Frenchman Gao Xingjian received the award in 2000. He is the 14th French man to be so honoured since the Nobel Prizes began in 1901.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was quick to label Le Clézio’s win a proof of France’s global cultural influence. “A child in Mauritius and Nigeria, a teenager in Nice, a nomad of the American and African deserts, Jean-Marie Le Clézio is a citizen of the world, the son of all continents and cultures,” Sarkozy said. “A great traveler, he embodies the influence of France, its culture and its values in a globalized world.”

Le Clézio’s works include novels, essays, and children’s books. He has written about nomads, the desert, childhood memories, and the mythologies of native Americans. His best-known book is “Desert” (1980) which celebrates the simple nobility of a lost Tuareg civilization in the Sahara, even as it critiques European culture and French colonialism.

The Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, Horace Engdahl, recently said that Europe was “the center of the literary world,” and suggested that American writers were too insular and too much under the sway of American popular culture to win. The last American writer to receive the prize was Toni Morrison in 1993.

Last years winner was Britain's Doris Lessing. Lessing A Full Life Retro

Biobibliographical notes
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio was born on April 13, 1940, in Nice, but both parents had strong family connections with the former French colony, Mauritius (conquered by the British in 1810). At the age of eight, Le Clézio and his family moved to Nigeria, where the father had been stationed as a doctor during the Second World War. During the month-long voyage to Nigeria, he began his literary career with two books, Un long voyage and Oradi noir, which even contained a list of “forthcoming books.” He grew up with two languages, French and English. In 1950 the family returned to Nice. After completing his secondary education, he studied English at Bristol University in 1958-59 and completed his undergraduate degree in Nice (Institut d’Études Littéraires) in 1963. He took a master’s degree at the University of Aix-en-Provence in 1964 and wrote a doctoral thesis on Mexico’s early history at the University of Perpignan in 1983. He has taught at universities in Bangkok, Mexico City, Boston, Austin and Albuquerque among other places.

le_clezio_youngLe_ procès_verbal
Le Clézio received much attention with his first novel, Le procès-verbal (1963; The Interrogation, 1964). As a young writer in the aftermath of existentialism and the nouveau roman, he was a conjurer who tried to lift words above the degenerate state of everyday speech and to restore to them the power to invoke an essential reality. His debut novel was the first in a series of descriptions of crisis, which includes the short story collection La fièvre (1965; Fever, 1966) and Le déluge (1966; The Flood, 1967), in which he points out the trouble and fear reigning in the major Western cities.

Even early on Le Clézio stood out as an ecologically engaged author, an orientation that is accentuated with the novels Terra amata (1967; Terra Amata, 1969), Le livre des fuites (1969; The Book of Flights, 1971), La guerre (1970; War, 1973) and Les géants (1973; The Giants, 1975). His definitive breakthrough as a novelist came with Désert (1980), for which he received a prize from the French Academy. This work contains magnificent images of a lost culture in the North African desert, contrasted with a depiction of Europe seen through the eyes of unwanted immigrants. The main character, the Algerian guest worker Lalla, is a utopian antithesis to the ugliness and brutality of European society.

During the same period, Le Clézio published the meditative essay collections L’extase matérielle (1967), Mydriase (1973) and Haï (1971), the last of which shows influences from Indian culture. Long stays in Mexico and Central America in the period 1970 to 1974 were of decisive significance for his work, and he left the big cites in search of a new spiritual reality in the contact with the Indians. He met the Moroccan Jemia, who became his wife in 1975, the same year Voyage de l’autre côté was published, a book in which he gives an account of what he learned in Central America. Le Clézio began the translation of the major works of the Indian tradition, such as Les prophéties du Chilam Balam. Le rêve mexicain ou la pensée interrompue (1998) testifies to his fascination with Mexico’s magnificent past. Since the 90s Le Clézio and his wife share their time between Albuquerque in New Mexico, the island of Mauritius and Nice.

Le cercheur d’or (1985; The Prospector, 1993) treats material from the islands of the Indian Ocean in the spirit of the adventure story. In later years the author’s attraction to the dream of earthly paradise is apparent in books such as Ourania (2005) and Raga: approche du continent invisible (2006). The latter is devoted to documenting a way of life on the islands of the Indian Ocean that is disappearing with the advance of globalization. The former is set in a remote valley in Mexico, where the main character, the author’s alter ego, finds a colony of seekers who have regained the harmony of the golden age and laid aside civilization’s ruined customs, including its languages.

The emphasis in Le Clézio’s work has increasingly moved in the direction of an exploration of the world of childhood and of his own family history. This development began with Onitsha (1991; Onitsha, 1997), continued more explicitly with La quarantaine (1995) and has culminated in Révolutions (2003) and L’Africain (2004). Révolutions sums up the most important themes of his work: memory, exile, the reorientations of youth, cultural conflict. Episodes from various times and places are juxtaposed: the main character’s student years during the 1950s and 60s in Nice, London and Mexico; the experiences of an ancestor from Brittany as a soldier in the army of the revolution in 1792-94 and his emigration to Mauritius to escape the repression of revolutionary society; and the story of a female slave from the beginning of the 1800s. Embedded among the childhood memories is the story of the main character’s visit to his grandfather’s sister, the last mediator of family tradition from the lost estate on Mauritius, who passes on the memories that he as author will carry into the future.

ballacinerL’Africain, the story of the author’s father, is at once a reconstruction, a vindication, and the recollection of a boy who lived in the shadow of a stranger he was obliged to love. He remembers through the landscape: Africa tells him who he was when, at the age of eight, he experienced the family’s reunion after the separation during the war years.

Among Le Clézio’s most recent works are Ballaciner (2007), a deeply personal essay about the history of the art of film and the importance of film in the author’s life, from the hand-turned projectors of his childhood, the cult of cinéaste trends in his teens, to his adult forays into the art of film as developed in unfamiliar parts of the world. A new work, Ritournelle de la faim, has just been published.

Le Clézio has also written several books for children and youth, for example Lullaby (1980), Celui qui n’avait jamais vu la mer suivi de La montagne du dieu vivant (1982) and Balaabilou (1985).

Literary Prizes: Prix Théophraste Renaudot (1963), Prix Larbaud (1972), Grand Prix Paul Morand de l’Académie française (1980), Grand Prix Jean Giono (1997), Prix Prince de Monaco (1998), Stig Dagermanpriset (2008)

Visionary Doris Lessing Wins Nobel Prize Literature 2007

Doris Lessing 2007 Nobel Laureate

“that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”

Doris Lessing One of Our Most Celebrated

Doris Lessing is one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of our times. She has been awarded the David Cohen Memorial Prize for British Literature, Spain's Prince of Asturia Prize and Prix Catalunya, and the S.T. Dupont Golden PEN Aw rd for a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature to name but a fewOn December 10th, 2007, perhaps the biggest accolade of all, The Nobel Prize for Literature.


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Nobel Prize for Literature 1901- 2007


* 2007- Doris Lessing- Lessing- Retro Life Feature
*2006 - Orhan Pamuk
* 2005 - Harold Pinter
* 2004 - Elfriede Jelinek
* 2003 - J. M. Coetzee
* 2002 - Imre Kertész
* 2001 - V. S. Naipaul
* 2000 - Gao Xingjian
* 1999 - Günter Grass
* 1998 - José Saramago
* 1997 - Dario Fo
* 1996 - Wislawa Szymborska
* 1995 - Seamus Heaney
* 1994 - Kenzaburo Oe
* 1993 - Toni Morrison
* 1992 - Derek Walcott
* 1991 - Nadine Gordimer
* 1990 - Octavio Paz
* 1989 - Camilo José Cela
* 1988 - Naguib Mahfouz
* 1987 - Joseph Brodsky
* 1986 - Wole Soyinka
* 1985 - Claude Simon
* 1984 - Jaroslav Seifert
* 1983 - William Golding
* 1982 - Gabriel García Márquez
* 1981 - Elias Canetti
* 1980 - Czeslaw Milosz
* 1979 - Odysseus Elytis
* 1978 - Isaac Bashevis Singer
* 1977 - Vicente Aleixandre
* 1976 - Saul Bellow
* 1975 - Eugenio Montale
* 1974 - Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinson
* 1973 - Patrick White
* 1972 - Heinrich Böll
* 1971 - Pablo Neruda
* 1970 - Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
* 1969 - Samuel Beckett
* 1968 - Yasunari Kawabata
* 1967 - Miguel Angel Asturias
* 1966 - Shmuel Agnon, Nelly Sachs

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* 1965 - Mikhail Sholokhov
* 1964 - Jean-Paul Sartre
* 1963 - Giorgos Seferis
* 1962 - John Steinbeck
* 1961 - Ivo Andric
* 1960 - Saint-John Perse
* 1959 - Salvatore Quasimodo
* 1958 - Boris Pasternak
* 1957 - Albert Camus
* 1956 - Juan Ramón Jiménez
* 1955 - Halldór Laxness
* 1954 - Ernest Hemingway
* 1953 - Winston Churchill
* 1952 - François Mauriac
* 1951 - Pär Lagerkvist
* 1950 - Bertrand Russell
* 1949 - William Faulkner
* 1948 - T.S. Eliot
* 1947 - André Gide
* 1946 - Hermann Hesse
* 1945 - Gabriela Mistral
* 1944 - Johannes V. Jensen
* 1943 - No Prize
* 1942 - No Prize
* 1941 - No Prize
* 1940 - No Prize
* 1939 - Frans Eemil Sillanpää
* 1938 - Pearl Buck
* 1937 - Roger Martin du Gard
* 1936 - Eugene O'Neill
* 1935 - No Prize
* 1934 - Luigi Pirandello
* 1933 - Ivan Bunin
* 1932 - John Galsworthy
* 1931 - Erik Axel Karlfeldt
* 1930 - Sinclair Lewis
* 1929 - Thomas Mann
* 1928 - Sigrid Undset
* 1927 - Henri Bergson
* 1926 - Grazia Deledda
* 1925 - George Bernard Shaw
* 1924 - Wladyslaw Reymont
* 1923 - William Butler Yeats
* 1922 - Jacinto Benavente
* 1921 - Anatole France
* 1920 - Knut Hamsun
* 1919 - Carl Spitteler
* 1918 - No Prize
* 1917 - Karl Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan
* 1916 - Verner von Heidenstam
* 1915 - Romain Rolland
* 1914 - No Prize
* 1913 - Rabindranath Tagore
* 1912 - Gerhart Hauptmann
* 1911 - Maurice Maeterlinck
* 1910 - Paul Heyse
* 1909 - Selma Lagerlöf
* 1908 - Rudolf Eucken
* 1907 - Rudyard Kipling
* 1906 - Giosuè Carducci
* 1905 - Henryk Sienkiewicz
* 1904 - Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray
* 1903 - Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
* 1902 - Theodor Mommsen
* 1901 - Sully Prudhomme

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