German writer Herta Mueller wins Nobel Prize for Literature | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 08.10.2009
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German writer Herta Mueller wins Nobel Prize for Literature

The 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature goes to German writer Herta Mueller. The Swedish Academy recognized Romanian-born Mueller for depicting "the landscape of the dispossessed."

Herta Mueller

Herta Mueller is the 10th German writer to win the prize

Herta Mueller was reportedly overwhelmed upon hearing news of her award. "I'm surprised and I still don't believe it," she said, through a statement released by her Munich-based publisher Hanser, "I can't say any more at the moment."

The publisher used the statement to lead praise for the author: "Her highly artistic work of mourning is an outstanding example of European literature that, with analytical astuteness and poetic precision, has made our history contemporary."

The Swedish Academy said that "with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, [Mueller] depicts the landscape of the dispossessed."

Chronicles of dictatorship

Mueller was born in 1953 in Nitzkydorf as a member of the German minority of Romania. Her books chronicle the political persecution of Romania's communist dictatorship, an achievement for which she has received numerous literary awards.

Mueller and her then husband, prose writer Richard Wagner, fled to West Germany in 1987.

Four of her works have been published in English: "The Land of Green Plums," "Travelling on One Leg," "The Passport" and "The Appointment."

She was nominated for the German Book Prize for her latest book, "Atemschaukel," (literally: 'swing of breath'), which was published in German earlier this year. The winner will be announced on October 12.

Mueller is the 12th woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. The last literature prize that the Academy awarded to a German author was Guenter Grass in 1999. A total of 10 German writers have received the prestigious award, and Mueller now enjoys the illustrious company of authors like Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann. The official Nobel awards ceremony is to be held on December 10 in Stockholm.

Editor: Trinity Hartman

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