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October 6, 2023 11:39 AM IST

‘Everything will be downhill from now’ says Fosse after Nobel win

Jon Fosse | Nobel Prize

Norwegian author and dramatist Jon Fosse, who won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature on October 5 said the prize was the highest honour for an author and that everything would be “downhill from now on”.

“It doesn’t get any higher. It is The prize,” Fosse told Norwegian broadcaster Tv2. “It will not get bigger than the Nobel Prize.”

Earlier on Thursday, Fosse was awarded the prize by the Swedish Academy “for his innovative plays and prose which give a voice to the unsayable”.

Swedish Academy member Anders Olsson said that his work “touches on the deepest feelings that you have, anxieties, insecurities, questions of life and death,”

Born in 1959 in Haugesund on Norway’s west coast, Fosse is best known for his dramas, though his writing spans poetry, essays, children’s books and translations.

Fosse, seen as a long-time contender for the prize and among this year’s favourites in the betting odds, said he was honoured by the award.

He has spoken extensively of his recovery from alcoholism and a struggle to overcome social anxiety and the role played by religious faith.

The 64-year-old is the fourth Norwegian and the first since 1928 to win the Nobel Prize for literature, this year worth 11 million Swedish crowns (about $1 million).

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 was the “Septology” series of three books divided into seven parts which he completed in 2021 – “Det andre namnet” (“The Other Name” – 2019), “Eg er ein annan” (“I is Another – 2020), and “Eit nytt namn” (“A New Name” – 2021).

Fosse, writes in the least common of the two official versions of Norwegian. He said he regarded the award as a recognition of that tongue and the movement promoting it, and that he ultimately owed the prize to the language itself.

Past winners of the literature prize include Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez and American John Steinbeck, alongside singer songwriter Bob Dylan and Britain’s Second World War prime minister Winston Churchill.

Established in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel, the prizes for achievements in literature, science and peace have been awarded since 1901, becoming a career pinnacle in those fields.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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