Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mario Vargas Llosa Wins 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature. Who Else Won in the Past Decade?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mario Vargas Llosa Wins 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature. Who Else Won in the Past Decade?

Article excerpt

Mario Vargas Llosa has won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Peruvian author and former presidential candidate received the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 1995 and is the first South American author to win the Nobel since Gabriel Garcia Marquez won the award in 1982. Here are the past decade's winners.

Mario Vargas Llosa has won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Peruvian author and former presidential candidate received the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 1995 and is the first South American author to win the Nobel since Gabriel Garcia Marquez won the award in 1982.

Here are the past decade's winners.

#10 2001: V. S. Naipaul

British writer V. S. Naipaul took the Nobel in 2001 "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories," the awards committee said in a statement. He was born to Indian parents in the town of Chaguanas, on the island of Trinidad.

He has taken up India in both his fiction and his politics, aligning himself with right-wing Hindutva ideology. The New York Times said at the time: "Like many writers, Mr. Naipaul is often a better guide to the world in his prose than in his spoken remarks, which have resulted in accusations of homophobia and racism."

He has in the past declared the novel is dead, though he continues to write them.

#9 2002: Imre Kertesz

Hungarian writer Imre Kertesz took the Nobel in 2002 for "writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history," according to the committee statement. A survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, Mr. Kertesz published his first novel in 1975, "Sorstalansag" (published as "Fateless" in 1992), about Hungarian Jews sent to the Nazi concentration camps in Poland.

According to the committee, "Kertesz's message is that to live is to conform. The capacity of the captives to come to terms with Auschwitz is one outcome of the same principle that finds expression in everyday human coexistence."

#8 2003: John M. Coetzee

South African-born writer John M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2003. Now a resident of Australia, Mr. Coetzee's novels are able to capture the "divine spark in man," according to the committee statement.

"Coetzee's interest is directed mainly at situations where the distinction between right and wrong, while crystal clear, can be seen to serve no end. Like the man in the famous Magritte painting who is studying his neck in a mirror, at the decisive moment Coetzee's characters stand behind themselves, motionless, incapable of taking part in their own actions."

#7 2004: Elfriede Jelinek

Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek won in 2004 for, according to the committee statement, "her musical flow of voices and counter- voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's cliches and their subjugating power."

Ms. Jelinek skipped the awards ceremony in Sweden, however. She explained her reason to The New York Times: "I would attend the ceremony if I were able to. But unfortunately I'm mentally ill with agoraphobia. I'm unable to be in crowds, and I can't bear to be looked at."

#6 2005: Harold Pinter

The late British playwright Harold Pinter produced 29 original stage plays, 27 screenplays, and numerous other essays, letters, and literary works. Mr. Pinter "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms," the committee said in a statement awarding him the 2005 Nobel for Literature.

His style is so notable as to be called "Pinteresque," and he is best known for the plays "The Caretaker" and "Betrayal." The writer, who died in 2008, was a longtime pacifist, and was highly critical of the war in Iraq. …

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