Thursday, October 09, 2008

LIT: Le Clezio wins Nobel

French author Le Clezio wins Nobel
Academy commends his 'departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy'
The Associated Press
updated 6:24 a.m. CT, Thurs., Oct. 9, 2008

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - The Swedish Academy said Thursday that French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio has won the 2008 Nobel Prize in literature.

The academy called Le Clezio "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization."

Besides the 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) check, he will receive a gold medal and be invited to give a lecture at the academy's headquarters in the Swedish capital's Old Town.

Since Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe won the award in 1994, the selections have had a distinct European flavor. Nine of the subsequent laureates were Europeans, including last year's winner, Lessing of Britain. Of the other four, one was from Turkey and the others from South Africa, China and Trinidad. All had strong ties to Europe.

The last U.S. writer to win the prize was Toni Morrison in 1993.

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature," Nobel committee member and permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said. "That ignorance is restraining."

His comments were met with fierce reactions from literary officials across the Atlantic. The head of the U.S. National Book Foundation offered to send Engdahl a reading list.

The Nobel Prize in literature is handed out in Stockholm on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896 — along with the awards in medicine, chemistry, physics and economics. The Nobel Peace Prize is presented in Oslo, Norway.

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