The 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature was on Thursday awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
She has previously received the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and the National Book Award 2014.
The Chairman of the Nobel Committee said Glück’s works are “characterised by a striving for clarity. Childhood and family life, the close relationship with parents and siblings, is a thematic that has remained central with her.”
“Louise Glück seeks the universal, and in this she takes inspiration from myths and classical motifs, present in most of her works,” the citation said.
“Glück is not only engaged by the errancies and shifting conditions of life, she is also a poet of radical change and rebirth, where the leap forward is made from a deep sense of loss,” Chairman Anders Olsson wrote.
Glück lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is a professor of English at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
The works by 2020 Literature Laureate Louise Glück are characterized by a striving for clarity. Childhood and family life, the close relationship with parents and siblings, is a thematic that has remained central with her.
In 2018, Nobel Prize for Literature had been postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners, and sparked a mass exodus of members.
After the academy revamped itself in a bid to regain the trust of the Nobel Foundation, two laureates were named last year, with the 2018 prize going to Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk and the 2019 award to Austria’s Peter Handke.
Handke’s prize caused a storm of protest: a strong supporter of the Serbs during the 1990s Balkan wars, he has been called an apologist for Serbian war crimes. Several countries including Albania, Bosnia and Turkey boycotted the Nobel awards ceremony in protest, and a member of the committee that nominates candidates for the literature prize resigned.
Authors often mentioned as contenders include Kenya’s Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Canadian poet Anne Carson and Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.
British bookmakers Ladbrokes had ranked Carson as the 5-1 favourite, followed by Russian novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Canadian author Margaret Atwood and Guadeloupe-born writer Maryse Conde.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus. Tuesday’s prize for physics honoured breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes, and the chemistry prize on Wednesday went to scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool.
Still to come are prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of peace and economics.
(With inputs from the Associated Press)