Jon Fosse, Norwegian Playwright, Awarded Nobel Prize 2023 in Literature
The 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Jon Fosse “for his innovative plays and prose that give voice to the unsayable.”
The playwright, 64, is little known outside of Norway, where he was born on the western coast in the city of Haugesund. However, the author is well-known in literary circles and has been dubbed “the most produced living playwright.” He has received important European honors and has long been fully financed by the Norwegian government, with a lifetime salary and a house near Oslo’s Royal Palace. He was named a Knight of the National Order of Merit of France in 2007.
“His immense oeuvre, written in Norwegian Nynorsk and spanning a variety of genres, consists of a wealth of plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books, and translations,” the Nobel committee noted in its citation. While he is now one of the world’s most extensively performed playwrights, he is also becoming more well-known for his prose.” Additionally, you can also read about- A Guide to the World’s Most Prestigious Nobel Prize Awards
The author has been dubbed “the new Henrik Ibsen,” and the Nobel committee chairman invoked Samuel Beckett during his announcement of Fosse’s “artistry in the aftermath of modernism.” In a 2015 essay in The Paris Review, Damion Searls offered a different parallel.
“Think of the four elder statesmen of Norwegian letters as a bit like the Beatles,” he said. “Per Petterson is the solid, always dependable Ringo; Dag Solstad is John, the experimentalist, the ideas man; Karl Ove Knausgaard is Paul, the cute one; and Fosse is George, the quiet one, mystical, spiritual, probably the best craftsman of them all.”
The playwright began as a novelist and did not break into the theater until he was in his forties. His international reputation as a playwright was cemented in 1998, when his debut play, Nokon kjem til komme (in English, Someone Is Going to Come), was staged in Paris. According to his translator, Ann Henning Jocelyn, his work has been performed in more than 60 countries around the world since then.
The Nobel Committee has been chastised for its preference for European and Anglo-American literature. Only five writers of color have received the literature prize in the last 20 years. Last year’s honor went to 83-year-old French writer Annie Ernaux.