Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 17:45 UK

Mueller wins Nobel literary prize


Herta Mueller's win is announced

German author Herta Mueller has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature, the academy in Stockholm has announced.

The Romanian-born writer follows last year's French winner Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, while British writer Doris Lessing won in 2007.

Mueller, born in 1953, is renowned for her depiction of the harsh conditions under Nicolae Ceausescu's regime.

She said she was "stunned and still cannot believe it".

The Swedish academy praised Mueller for both her poetry and prose.

Literary prizes

It said the writer had an ability to "depict the landscape of the dispossessed" and wrote "with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose".

Mueller was born to a family from Romania's German minority and her mother was deported to a labour camp in the Soviet Union after World War II.

Herta Mueller
A bit like Franz Kafka writing in German in Prague, Mueller saw in her mother tongue a direct and poignant expression of alienation
Razia Iqbal, BBC Arts correspondent

She emigrated to Germany in 1987, after being dismissed from her job in Romania during the 1970s due to her refusal to co-operate with the regime's secret police.

Her first collection of German language short stories, published in 1982, was censored in Romania.

Mueller's initial works were smuggled out of the country, while in later years she was awarded several literary prizes, including the Irish Republic's Impac Award in 1998.

One of her later books, 2001's The Appointment, goes into great detail about living under a stagnated dictatorship.

Only a few of the author's works have been translated into English, including The Passport (1986), The Land of Green Plums (1994) and The Appointment.

Mueller will receive a prize of 10 million Swedish Kronor (£892,000) along with her Nobel honour, which will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the author "more than deserved" the prize.

"Especially now, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it's a beautiful signal that such high quality literature and this life experience are being honoured," she said.

"We are of course happy that Herta Mueller has found a home in Germany and I congratulate her from the bottom of my heart."

Print Sponsor

Profile: Herta Mueller
08 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Past Nobel Literature winners
08 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
Author Le Clezio wins Nobel prize
09 Oct 08 |  Entertainment
Lessing collects Nobel in London
31 Jan 08 |  Entertainment

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Sydney Morning Herald Mueller wins Nobel Prize for depicting life under communism - 15 hrs ago
The Independent German writer wins Nobel literature prize - 35 hrs ago
Bangkok PostMueller wins Nobel for depictions of life under communism - 36 hrs ago
Deutsche Welle Germany hails literature Nobel honor for Herta Mueller - 39 hrs ago
National Post German author Herta Mueller wins Nobel Prize for Literature - 40 hrs ago
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