Louise Glück wins the 2020 Nobel prize in literature – follow the announcement live - The Guardian

1 month ago 47

“Don’t forget to read our marvellous laureate,” Olsson says cheerfully, before wrapping up the conference. Well that’s that!

Updated at 12.21pm BST

The Guardian’s resident poetry expert, Carol Rumens, cast an eye over a poem from Glück’s most recent collection Faithful and Virtuous Night, back in 2014. You can read it below.

Explaining their decision, Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel committee says Gluck’s voice “is candid and uncompromising and signals that this poet wants to be understood. She has humour and biting wit.

“Even if her autobiographical background is significant in her works, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet. She seeks universality ... Three characteristics unite to reoccur in her works: the topic of family life, an austere but also playful intelligence, and a refined sense of composition.”

Updated at 12.20pm BST

This makes Glück the 16th woman to win:

Selma Lagerlof, 1909

Grazia Deledda, 1926

Sigrid Undset, 1928

Pearl Buck, 1938

Gabriela Mistral, 1945

Nelly Sachs, 1966

Nadine Gordimer, 1991

Toni Morrison, 1993

Wislawa Szymborska, 1996

Elfriede Jelinek, 2004

Doris Lessing, 2007

Herta Muller, 2009

Alice Munro, 2013

Svetlana Alexievich, 2015

Olga Tokarczuk, 2018

Louise Glück, 2020

And the winner is ... Louise Glück

US poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize)

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”#NobelPrize pic.twitter.com/Wbgz5Gkv8C

October 8, 2020

Possible contenders: Haruki Murakami

Sian Cain

Haruki Murakami.
Haruki Murakami. Photograph: Ali Smith

The Japanese novelist is frequently high up in the odds – so much so that a group of diehard fans, also known as “Harukists”, tend to gather each year to watch the ceremony, tumblers of whisky (a motif in his novels) at hand. Japan’s love for Murakami is greater than that for even other Japanese contenders; when British-Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro won in 2017, staff at Kinokuniya bookshop in Tokyo reportedly let out a groan before quickly disassembling their immaculate Murakami display and replacing it with Ishiguros.

It has become a bit of a running gag that he never wins – so much so, last year the Japan Times ran a rather intense piece about the nation’s deep disappointment: “In the Kyodo newsroom, a wail of disappointment is heard, champagne is returned to the fridge and trembling hands struggle to a keyboard to punch out the bitter news.”

According to the BBC, Murakami’s eternal struggle puts him in a dream club with Amy Adams and Björk, for cool people who never win stuff. So that’s something. And when Murakami was nominated for the New Academy award – the one-off replacement for the Nobel when it was cancelled – he withdrew from contention, citing a wish to concentrate on his writing. Or did he just want to stay in the club with Amy Adams and Björk? Reason says the latter. Björk would definitely enjoy his weird thing about earlobes.

Updated at 12.03pm BST

Possible contenders: Joyce Carol Oates

Richard Lea

Joyce Carol Oates.
Joyce Carol Oates. Photograph: Dustin Cohen

With more than 100 books to her name, Joyce Carol Oates is rarely far from the adjective “prolific”. Novels, short stories, plays, poetry and criticism have poured from her in an unbroken stream since her debut collection of short fiction was published in 1963. Ranging across genre from thriller to romance and from horror to literary fiction, Oates has explored class, race, gender and the violence of modern society in novels such as Them (1969), Because it is Bitter and Because it is My Heart (1990), Blonde (2000) and The Gravedigger’s Daughter (2007).

Writing in the New Yorker about her latest novel, the “frequently brilliant” Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars, Leo Robson summed up the appeal of Oates’s often unruly work: “She believes in the itching and the ornery and the oddly shaped, and has been trying to produce fiction that feels as irreducible to simple meanings, as resistant to paraphrase, as the subject matter it portrays.”

Updated at 11.59am BST

The livestream has started

We’re just 10 minutes away - you can watch the video at the top of this liveblog (you may need to refresh your browser if you joined us a while back). Enjoy watching some journalists looking nervous.

Alison Flood

Fiammetta Rocco, culture correspondent at the Economist and the administrator of the International Booker prize, knows what she’s talking about when it comes to international literature. Her tips are first, Maryse Condé, “whose work just resonates more and more powerfully as time goes by”, and second, “my fellow Kenyan, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, for a lifetime of highly original writing, but especially for The Perfect Nine, which is published today. An epic in every sense of the word.”

Updated at 11.48am BST

Sian Cain

Just as the same names come up each year, so to does the video of Doris Lessing finding out that she had won, from back in 2007. But it is too good not to share every time.

Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller)

Whoever wins #NobelPrize for literature tomorrow, they will never beat this reaction by Doris Lessing.pic.twitter.com/IU50xp0Vvj

October 7, 2020

Updated at 11.46am BST

Possible contenders: Péter Nádas

Richard Lea

Peter Nadas, in 2012.
Peter Nadas, in 2012. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Another perennial contender is the Hungarian novelist, playwright and essayist Péter Nádas. He is best known internationally for his 700-page novel A Book of Memories, which divides the story of a young Hungarian writer growing up under communism between three narrators. When it was published in English in 1997, Eva Hoffman compared it to Proust and Musil in the New York Times, praising Nádas’ exploration of memory “in profligate and fantastically modulated detail, all the compressed meanings, the swirl and buzz of sensation and impression implicit in even the most mundane moments”. Susan Sontag hailed it as “the greatest novel written in our time, and one of the great books of the century”.

Hungarian reviewers were in raptures over Parallel Stories, a 1,100-page epic that jumps across the last 100 years of Hungarian and German history in disjointed fragments, but critics were divided when it appeared in English in 2011. Francine Prose called it “dense, filthy, brilliant”, but Tibor Fischer said it was “like having your face jammed in someone’s crotch … It’s a great historical soup, with bits of this and that bobbing around, seemingly thrown in randomly by the chef – or, more succinctly, a mess.”

Updated at 11.59am BST

Sian Cain

The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize)

One of the most powerful and distinguished storytellers of our time: Toni Morrison, became the first African American woman to be awarded a #NobelPrize when she received the Literature Prize in 1993.

Stay tuned to find out the recipient(s) of the 2020 Literature Prize! pic.twitter.com/QyDDPbpnb0

October 8, 2020

The Nobel Prize has just tweeted this. Does this mean we might see another black female laureate this year? Morrison remains the only black woman to win the prize since it was first awarded in 1901.

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