Friday, October 10, 2008

The Nobel Prize Goes To Who??

When I read today that the Nobel Prize for Literature had gone to a writer I'd never heard of (Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio), I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Is he that obscure, or am I that out of it? It turns out he is obscure (and I'm a bit out of it to boot), to readers of the English language, because, as well regarded as he is in Europe, few of his works have been translated into English. It's a shame. When I did a little research into who he is, and what he writes about, I came across this quote.

“My message will be very clear; it is that I think we have to continue to read novels. Because I think that the novel is a very good means to question the current world without having an answer that is too schematic, too automatic. The novelist, he’s not a philosopher, not a technician of spoken language. He’s someone who writes, above all, and through the novel asks questions.”

In this time of incredible uncertainty and fear, it rejuvenated me and inspired me to both read and write. Good writing matters, even, and especially, when the sky is falling.


  1. I had the same reaction when I read about the Nobel Prize winner and I had planned to find out more about him.

    Thanks for giving me added incentive. The quote makes his fiction sound interesting.

  2. The number of "to be read" books keeps growing, as does the number of "to be discovered" writers.

    Thanks for sharing the research.

  3. Definitely an inspiring quote. And another author to be added to the to be read list... someday.

    I'm curious, what did you all think of the comments about American writers from a Nobel committee member?:

  4. The fact that a French-man won the Nobel Prize for Literature will certainly annoy the anglophiles. After all, everyone now accepts that English is the international language.

    I apologise for the satire, but speak as a native English speaker. Then, if English is unacceptable, on grounds of linguistic imperialism, what about Esperanto?

    Yes Esperanto was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, in the name of Icelandic poet Baldur Ragnarrson.

    This is true. Esperanto does have its own original literature. Please check to confirm.

  5. To respond to the article Brianna linked to: I don't agree with much of what was said, but I do agree that America should publish more literature in translation. In that sense, yes, we are insular.

  6. It isn't just the Nobel that routinely dismisses current American writers. I would love to see our schools do more in exposing students to current works. I am by no means suggesting that the classics be ignored,, but there are current thoughtful, complex books that could be added to the mix.