Herta Muller Awarded Nobel Prize For Literature 2009

The Romanian-born German writer Herta Muller has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for literature this morning. The Nobel Committee at the Swedish Academy honoured Herta Muller for her lifetime work and described it in the following way.

‘the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.’

Muller was clearly shocked and humbled by hearing of the news that she was to be awarded the highest possible literary accolade by saying she was ‘stunned and still cannot believe it’.

Muller is a novelist, poet and essayist and is particularly noted for her works depicting the harsh conditions of life in Communist Romania under the repressive dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu’s regime. Following her vocal criticism of Romania’s government and secret police, she and her husband left the country in 1987.
The 56-year-old author made her literary debut in 1982 with a collection of short stories titled Niederungen. The book was quickly censored by the Romanian government, but in 1984 an uncensored version was published in Germany depicting life in a small, German-speaking village in Romania, received critical acclaim and was devoured by readers. This book was followed by Oppresive Tango and freely published in Romania. Muller left for Germany with her husband, novelist Richard Wagner, in 1987. Over the following years she received many lectureships at universities in Germany and abroad. She lives in Berlin and received membership of the German Academy for Writing and Poetry in 1995. In 1997 she withdrew from the PEN centre of Germany in protest of its merge with the former German Democratic Republic branch. In July 2008, Muller sent a critical open letter to Horia-Roman Patapievici, president of the Romanian Cultural Institute in reaction to the support given by the institute to a Romanian-German Summer School involving two former informants of the Securitate.
Muller will be formally awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature at a ceremony in Sweden in December.

You can find a list of Muller’s books to purchase here.

About The Nobel Prize For literature
The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced ‘in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction’. The ‘work’ in this case refers to an author’s work as a whole, though individual works are sometimes also cited. The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize in any given year and announces the name of the chosen laureate in early October.

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