Nobel Prize Winners in Literature in the Last Ten Years




  1. Svetlana Alexievich [2015]


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Prize motivation – “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”

Svetlana Alexievich, a journalist with her “documentary novels”, i.e. collage of a wide range of voices through interviews, moves in the boundary between reporting and fiction. Her major works are her grand cycles, Voices of Utopia, which consists of five parts. She depicts life during and after the Soviet Union through the experiences of individuals.


  1. Patrick Modiano [2014]



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Field – prose

Prize motivation – “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

Patrick Modiano’s works centre around subjects like memory, oblivion, identity and guilt. Good stories are often characterized by their exploration of universal but difficult questions,at the same time as they are grounded in everyday settings and historical events. The city of Paris plays a centre role in his works. His stories are often based on events that occurred during the German occupation of France during World War II.


  1. Alice Munro [2013]



Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed at her daughter Sheila's home during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday December 10, 2013. Alice's daughter Jenny received the Nobel prize in Literature on her mother's behalf during a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito


Field – prose

Prize motivation – “master of the contemporary short story”

Munro has been appreciated for her finely tuned storytelling, characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Her stories are often set in small town environments, where people’s struggle for a decent life often results in difficult relationships and moral conflicts.


  1. Mo Yan [2012]





Mo Yan


Field – prose

Prize motivation – “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”

Mo Yan is a story teller on independent paths who covers a wide range from short stories to novels to essays. His writing often uses older Chinese literature and popular oral traditions as a starting point, combining these with social contemporary issues. His international breakthrough came with the epic novel ‘Red Sorghum’. Other famous works include ‘The Garlic Ballads’ and ‘Life and Death are Wearing Me Out’. His narrative style bears the hallmarks of magic realism.


  1. Tomas Transtromer [2011]





Field – poetry

Prize motivation – “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”

Transtromer is considered to be one of the “most influential Scandinavian poets of recent decades”. His work, though, lies within and further develops the Modernist and Expressionist/Surrealist language of 20th-century poetry; his clear, seemingly simple pictures from everyday life and nature in particular reveals a mystic insight to the universal aspects of the human mind.


  1. Mario Vargas Llosa [2010]







Field – prose

Prize motivation – “for his cartography of structure of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat”

Vargas Llosa rose to fame with novels such as The Time of the Hero, The Green House, and the monumental Conversation in the Cathedral. He writes prolifically across an array of literary genres, including literary criticism and journalism. His novels include comedies, murder mysteries, historical novels, and political thrillers. Vargas Llosa’s style encompasses historical material as well as his own personal experiences.

  1. Herta Muller [2009]



Die Literatur-Nobelpreisträgerin 2009, Herta Müller, posiert am Donnerstag (08.10.2009) in Berlin zu Beginn einer Pressekonferenz für die Medien. Müller ist mit dem Nobelpreis für Literatur ausgezeichnet worden. Das teilte die Schwedische Akademie am Donnerstag (08.10.2009) in Stockholm mit. Die 56 Jahre alte Autorin zeichne «mittels Verdichtung der Poesie und Sachlichkeit der Prosa Landschaften der Heimatlosigkeit», erklärte die Akademie. Herta Müller ist in Rumänien geboren und verarbeitet in ihren Werke ihre Erlebnisse von Fremdheit und politischer Verfolgung. Foto: Hannibal dpa/lbn +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++


Field – prose

Prize motivation – “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”

Muller is noted for her works depicting the effects of violence, cruelty and terror, usually in the setting of Communist Romania under the repressive Nicolae Ceaușescu regime which she has experienced herself. Her style was compared to that of Kafka and as she was largely influenced by him.


  1. Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio [2008]







Field – prose

Prize motivation – “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy’ explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”

Le Clezio explored themes such as insanity, language, nature and writing initially and at the later sphere of his work used themes like childhood, adolescence, and traveling, which attracted a broader, more popular audience. He has published more than thirty-six books, including short stories, novels, essays, two translations on the subject of Native American mythology, and several children’s books.


  1. Doris Lessing [2007]





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Field – prose

Prize motivation – “that epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny”

Lessing’s fiction is commonly divided into three distinct phases. The first being the “Communist” phase (1944–56) she wrote radically about social issues. This was followed by a “psychological” phase from 1956 to 1969, third came the “Sufi” phase. Her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, was published in 1950. The work that gained her international attention, The Golden Notebook, was published in 1962. By the time of her death, she had issued more than 50 novels.




  1. Orhan Pamuk [2006]





Field – prose

Prize motivation – “who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures”

Pamuk’s books are characterized by a confusion or loss of identity brought on in part by the conflict between Western and Eastern values. They are often disturbing or unsettling, but include complex plots and characters. His works are also redolent with discussion of and fascination with the creative arts, such as literature and painting. Pamuk’s work often touches on the deep-rooted tensions between East and West and tradition and modernism/secularism.














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