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Book Club- نادي القراءة: Nobel Literature Prize winners since 2000 - الفائزين بجائزة نوبل للأدب منذ عام 2000


The Nobel Prize in Literature remains one of the highest accolades for writers. From sarcastic Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek to Turkey's first winner Orhan Pamuk, here's a look back at the laureates since 2000.

2021: Abdulrazak Gurnah

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2021 is awarded to the novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

Gurnah was born in 1948 and grew up on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean but arrived in England as a refugee in the end of the 1960s. He has published ten novels and a number of short stories. The theme of the refugee’s disruption runs throughout his work.

2018: Olga Tokarczuk

The Polish writer was actually awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in 2019, since it had been postponed for a year following scandals affecting the Swedish Academy, the body that chooses the laureates for the award. A two-time winner of Poland's top literary prize, the Nike Award, Tokarczuk was also honored in 2010 with the Man Booker International Prize for her novel "Flights."

2015: Svetlana Alexievich

Calling her work "a monument to suffering and courage in our time," the Swedish Academy honored the Belarusian author and investigative journalist in 2015 — making her only the 14th woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901. Alexievich is best known for her emotive firsthand accounts of war and suffering, including "War's Unwomanly Face" (1985) and "Voices from Chernobyl" (2005).

2012: Mo Yan

Guan Moye, better known under his pen name Mo Yan, was praised by the Swedish Academy as a writer "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary." The decision was criticized by Chinese dissidents like artist Ai Weiwei, who claimed Mo Yan was too close to the Chinese Communist Party and did not support fellow intellectuals who faced political repression.

2009: Herta Müller

The German-Romanian author was awarded the Nobel Prize as a writer "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed." She is noted for her work criticizing the repressive communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania, which she experienced herself. Müller writes in German and moved to West Berlin in 1987.

2006: Orhan Pamuk

Ferit Orhan Pamuk, "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures," was the first Turkish author to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. With more than 11 million books sold, he is Turkey's bestselling writer. Pamuk was born in Istanbul and currently teaches at Columbia University in New York City.

2003: John Maxwell Coetzee

J. M. Coetzee, "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider," was also awarded the Booker Prize twice before obtaining the Nobel Prize. The Cape Town-born author became an Australian citizen in 2006. One of his best-known novels, "Disgrace" (1999), is set in post-apartheid South Africa.

2020: Louise Glück

Now crowned with the Nobel Prize in Literature, the American poet and essayist had already won major awards in the US, including the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, as well as the National Humanities Medal, which was presented by Barack Obama in 2016. Her most notable works include the "The Triumph of Achilles" (1985) and "The Wild Iris" (1992)

2017: Kazuo Ishiguro

Japan-born British novelist, screenwriter and short story writer Kazuo Ishiguro won the 2017 award. His most renowned novel, "The Remains of the Day" (1989), was adapted into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins. His works deal with memory, time and self-delusion.

2014: Patrick Modiano

The French writer's stories describe a universe of haunted cities, absentee parents, criminality and lost youths. They are all set in Paris with the shadow of the Second World War looming heavily in the background. The Swedish Academy described the novelist, whose work has often focused on the Nazi occupation of France, as "a Marcel Proust of our time."

2011: Tomas Transtromer

The Academy chose Tomas Gosta Transtromer as the winner in 2011 "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality." In the 1960s, the Swedish poet worked as a psychologist at a center for juvenile offenders. His poetry has been translated into over 60 languages.

2008: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio

The Swedish Academy called J.M.G. Le Clezio an "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization." Le Clezio was born in Nice, France, in 1940 to a French mother and a Mauritian father. He holds dual citizenship and calls Mauritius his "little fatherland."

2005: Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter, "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms," was awarded the Nobel Prize three years before his death from liver cancer. He died on Christmas Eve in 2008. The British playwright directed and acted in many radio and film productions of his own work. In total, he received more than 50 awards.

2001: Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul received the Nobel Prize in 2001 for his strong storytelling and "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories." Born in Trinidad and Tobago, the British writer has often explored the freedom of the individual in a declining society in his novels.

2019: Peter Handke

The Austrian author born in 1942 became famous with experimental plays such as "Offending the Audience" in 1966. He also co-wrote with Wim Wenders films including "Wings of Desire." The decision to award Handke the Nobel Prize was criticized since he is also known for his controversial positions on the Yugoslav Wars. In 2014, he had also called the prize to be abolished, dubbing it a "circus."

2016: Bob Dylan

An atypical but world famous laureate: US songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. The Swedish Academy selected him "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

2013: Alice Munro

Canadian writer Alice Munro is no stranger to accolades, having received the Man Booker International Prize and the Canadian Governor General Literary Award three times over. The Swedish Academy, which awards the annual Nobel Prize in Literature, called her a "master of the contemporary short story."

2010: Mario Vargas Llosa

The Peruvian novelist received the Nobel Prize "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." In Latin America, he is famous for uttering the phrase "Mexico is the perfect dictatorship" on TV in 1990 and for punching his once-friend and fellow Nobel laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in the face in 1976.

2007: Doris Lessing

British author Doris May Lessing has written novels, plays and short stories, to name just a few of her mediums. The 93-year-old received the Nobel Prize for being a writer "who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny." She campaigned against nuclear weapons and the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

2004: Elfriede Jelinek

The Nobel Prize was awarded to Elfriede Jelinek "for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels" and for her plays that reveal society's clichés. A central theme in Jelinek's work is female sexuality. Her novel "The Piano Teacher" was the basis for the 2001 movie of the same name featuring Isabelle Huppert in the lead role.

2002: Imre Kertesz

The Jewish Hungarian Auschwitz survivor became Nobel laureate "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history." Kertesz, who died in March 2016, described the atrocities of concentration camps in his books. He worked over 13 years on his semi-autobiographical novel "Fatelessness," which was first published in 1975.

2000: Gao Xingjian

The first Nobel Prize laureate of the new millennium was a Chinese author, playwright and painter based in Paris since 1987. Gao Xingjian was selected for his "oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama."