Norwegian Playwright Jon Fosse Wins 2023 Nobel Literature Prize

The Nobel Prize in Literature was given to Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse on Thursday by the Swedish Academy. Fosse’s plays are among the most widely produced of any contemporary playwright in Europe.

According to the Swedish Academy, he was honored “for his innovative plays and prose that give voice to the unsayable.”

His writing is distinguished by form more than content, with what is not stated frequently revealing more than what is.

Fosse’s work, which has been compared to Samuel Beckett, is minimalistic, depending on sparse vocabulary to convey its meaning through rhythm, harmony, and stillness.

His major works include “Boathouse” (1989), which was well-received by critics, and “Melancholy” I and II (1995-1996).

Fosse, 64, had featured widely in Nobel speculation for several years.

“His immense oeuvre written in Norwegian Nynorsk (one of Norway’s written forms of languages) and spanning a variety of genres consists of a wealth of plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books and translations”, the jury said.

“While he is today one of the most widely performed playwrights in the world, he has also become increasingly recognised for his prose.”

The Nobel Prize comes with a medal and a prize sum of 11 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million).

Last year’s winner was French feminist icon Annie Ernaux, famed for her deceptively simple novels that draw on personal experiences with class and gender.

The Academy has long been chastised for overrepresenting Western white male authors in its selections.

Since the tragic #MeToo incident in 2018, the Swedish Academy has undertaken dramatic revisions, guaranteeing a more global and gender-equal literature prize.

Since the controversy, it has recognized three women — Annie Ernaux, Louise Gluck of the United States, and Olga Tokarczuk of Poland — and three men — Austrian author Peter Handke, Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Fosse.

Fosse will receive the Nobel Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal event in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of physicist Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

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