Norwegian author Jon Fosse wins Nobel Prize for Literature 2023

Norwegian writer and playwright Jon Fosse has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy announced on Thursday.

Jon Fosse has been awarded for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable, the academy said. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia Creative Commons

"The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2023 is awarded to the Norwegian author Jon Fosse, for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable," the academy said.

The Nobel Prize in Literature carries a value of 11 million Swedish crowns (approximately $1 million). 

"I am overwhelmed, and somewhat frightened. I see this as an award to the literature that first and foremost aims to be literature, without other considerations," Fosse, who is also a poet, said in a statement.

Fosse, 64, uses the less widely used of the two official Norwegian versions in his writing.

On winning the accolade, Fosse dedicated the prize to this language and the advocacy behind it. He believes that ultimately, the prize is owed to the language itself, said a Reuters report.

According to the report, Fosse's version of the language, known as "new Norwegian," is used by only about 10% of the country's population. It originated in the 19th century with rural dialects as its foundation, offering an alternative to the prevalent use of Danish following a 400-year union with Denmark.

In addition to crafting over two dozen plays, this highly productive writer has authored novels, essays, collections of poetry, and a series of children's books spanning four decades.

As per his publisher, Fosse's works have been translated into over 40 languages, and there have been more than 1,000 different productions of his plays, according to Reuters.

Instituted according to the wishes of Swedish inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prizes for accomplishments in literature, science, and peace have been granted since 1901, representing a pinnacle of achievement in these respective domains.

The economics prize was added later and is funded by the Swedish central bank.

The Nobel Prizes for Peace and Literature have often garnered the most attention, occasionally stirring controversy.

This spotlight has propelled lesser-known authors onto the global stage while also boosting book sales for well-established literary figures.

Throughout the years, the Nobel Prize in Literature has recognized writers beyond the realm of novelists. This includes playwrights, historians, philosophers, and poets. In 2016, the award took a groundbreaking turn by honouring singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

The previous year's Nobel Prize was awarded to one of the top contenders, author Annie Ernaux. She received the prestigious literary award for her predominantly autobiographical works that delve into themes of memory and social inequality. This made her the first French woman to claim this prestigious global recognition.