The Swedish Academy honored Norwegian poet and dramatist Jon Fosse for works that “give voice to the unsayable,” according to the Swedish Academy. The Swedish Academy bestows the prize, which is worth 11 million Swedish crowns (about $1 million).
According to the academy, Fosse, who was born in 1959 in Haugesund on Norway’s west coast, has written plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books, and translations. According to the article, he is one of the world’s most performed playwrights.
“Fosse blends a rootedness in the language and nature of his Norwegian background, with artistic techniques in the wake of modernism,” Swedish Academy member Anders Olsson observed.
Fosse described himself as “overwhelmed and somewhat terrified.” “I see this as an award to literature that aims to be literature first and foremost, with no other considerations,” he said in a statement.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2023 was awarded to Jon Fosse, “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable”
Fosse’s European breakthrough as a dramatist came with Claude Régy’s 1999 Paris production of his 1996 play “Nokon kjem til å komme” (“Someone Is Going to Come”). His magnum opus in prose is the Septology he completed in 2021 – “Det andre namnet” (2019), “The Other Name” (2020), “Eg er ein annan” (2020), “I is Another” (2020), and “Eit nytt namn” (“A New Name” -2021).
Fosse, 64, who writes in the least common of the two official versions of Norwegian, said he regarded the award as a recognition of this language and the movement promoting it, and that he ultimately owed the prize to the language itself.
Fosse’s version of the language, known as “new Norwegian,” was developed in the nineteenth century with rural dialects at its foundation, providing an alternative to the overwhelming use of Danish that resulted from a 400-year union with Denmark. It is only used by roughly 10% of the country’s population.
According to his publisher, Fosse’s work has been translated into more than 40 languages, with over 1,000 distinct productions of his plays. Since 1901, the Nobel Prizes for Literature, Science, and Peace have been presented in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel, and have become a career apex in the fields.
The prize for economics was added afterward by the Swedish central bank. Along with the Nobel Peace Prize, literature has frequently attracted the greatest attention and controversy, propelling lesser-known authors into the worldwide spotlight while also increasing book sales for well-established literary superstars.
Over the years, the Literature Prize has chosen winners from fields other than fiction, such as playwrights, historians, philosophers, and poets, breaking new ground with the award to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 2016.