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Nobel Prize in Literature 2023 Awarded to Norwegian Jon Fosse

Nobel Prize Literature
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The Nobel Prize in Literature 2023 was awarded to Norwegian writer Jon Fosse whose works span 40 plays, a wealth of novels, essays, children’s books and translations.

The Swedish Academy in Stockholm praised his innovative plays and prose and said he gave voice to the unsayable. His works have been translated into numerous languages around the world.

Born in 1959, Fosse is one of the most recognized and widely performed playwrights.

In the words of the Swedish Academy, 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.

Nobel Prize laureate and his literature

Fosse is the most-performed Norwegian playwright after Henrik Ibsen. He has often been referred to as the “new Henrik Ibsen,” and his works as a modern continuation of the tradition established by Henrik Ibsen in the 19th century.

His major works include “Boathouse” (1989) and “Melancholy” I and II (1995-1996).

Born in Haugesund, Norway, in 1959, a serious accident at seven years old has had a big impact on the author’s writing as an adult. He is one of Europe’s most-performed playwrights, and his sparse, Pinteresque dramas have led to him being tipped for the Nobel year after year.

His first novel, Raudt, svart (Red, Black), was published in 1983, although he considers a short story Han (He), published in a student newspaper in 1981, to be his literary debut. His breakthrough as an writer came with the 1989 novel Naustet (Boathouse).

He then went on to write his first play in 1992: Nokon kjem til å kome (Someone Is Going to Come). While this was the first play Fosse wrote, Og aldri skal vi skiljast (And Never Shall We Part) was the first to be performed, at the National Theater in Bergen in 1994.

Since 2011, Fosse has been granted the Grotten, an honorary residence owned by the Norwegian state and located on the premises of the Royal Palace in the city centre of Oslo. Use of the Grotten as a permanent residence is an honor specially bestowed by the King of Norway for contributions to Norwegian arts and culture.

In April 2022, his novel A New Name: Septology VI-VII, translated into English by Damion Searls, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. The book was named a finalist for the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.

Between working on his novels, Fosse works as a translator on other authors’ works. He lives part of the time with his second wife, a Slovak, in Hainburg an der Donau in Austria. He also has a home in Bergen and two homes in western Norway.

Related: Giorgos Seferis: The First Greek Poet to Win the Nobel Prize

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