In recent years, the Swedish Academy, the entity in charge of awarding the Nobel Prizes in all their categories, has chosen a range of names that have surprised the Nobel Prize for Literature. Far from the names that are given every year, such as Haruki Murakami or Anne Carson, it is others who have won the award.
Perhaps the most emblematic case in the Nobel Prize for Literature in terms of surprise was Bob Dylan, in 2016. On the occasion, the Academy awarded him “for having created a new poetic expression within the great American tradition of song.” It is no less true that this work, strictly speaking, Dylan has developed more in songs than in books, which in fact only has two: Tarantula, from 1971; and his memories Chronicles, volume 1, 2004. In fact, in his style, Dylan only picked up the award in April 2017, perhaps showing with facts how surprising it was.
Breakthrough was also 2015 with the Belarusian Svetlana Alexievich, since with her, for the first time the Academy distinguished a genre that until then had not been awarded: the journalistic report. “For his polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,” it was indicated from the Swedish Academy. There is inscribed its heartbreaking Voices from Chernobyl. Chronicle of the future, of 1997.
The last winner was a total surprise. Louise Glück, the American poet. It was not at all among the favorites. In Spanish it was not even published by a large publishing house, but by the Spanish company Pre-Textos. Rather, Glück was a cult author, although voices like that of the Spanish narrator and translator Gonzalo Torné, suggested that a good anthology of her poetry be published. In 2021, with her status as a Nobel Prize-winning author, she went to the Visor publishing house, with which she published her collection of poems in Spanish. Faithful and virtuous night, available in Chile.
Another case was Peter Handke, 2019 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of the human experience.” His country only had one award (to Elfriede Jelinek, in 2004) and his work went through the theater, the novel and the essay. Of course, that year his name did rise among the favorites, although his time was far from that of the 90s, when he was a much more widely read author. “He became one more name of those essential writers who come from Central Europe, like Bernhard himself, or Joseph Roth, or Karl Kraus, or Schnitzler or Canetti or Hermann Broch. Or Sebald, since we are ”, commented the national writer Diego Zúñiga in 2019.
It was also surprising that of the British of Japanese origin, Kazuo Ishiguro, in 2017, who was not listed as a favorite. In the delivery, the Academy pointed out as a motive: “In his novels of great emotional force, he has discovered the abyss under our illusory sense of connection with the world.” By then, he had 7 novels, two of them taken to the movies (What remains of the day and Never leave me), although yes, in Spanish it was published by the Catalan publisher Anagrama.
Not so rare was the case of Olga Tokarczuk, “for a narrative imagination that, with encyclopedic passion, represents the crossing of borders as a way of life”. The Polish woman had years of experience publishing volumes such as Jacob’s books (2014) and The Wanderers, which earned her the prestigious Booker International Award 2018. At that time she was a consecrated author, having 11 books, three stories and eight novels, and was a relevant name of the letters. Tokarczuk is part of a tradition of relevant Eastern European writers and writers, such as Wisława Szymborska herself, her compatriot (Nobel Prize in Literature 1996).
The winner or winner 2021 will be known this Thursday at 08.00 AM in Chile.
We want to give thanks to the author of this write-up for this outstanding material
The last Nobel Prize winners in Literature: blows to the chair – La Tercera