Well, surprise, surprise. The good folks over at the Swedish Academy decided to give this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature to a writer! (Don’t get me started on their past choices, one of which includes awarding the prize in 1974 to Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson, both members of the Swedish Academy at the time.)
Most people will be familiar with Kazuo Ishiguro through the film adaptation of his Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Remains of the Day, but Ishiguro has written much more than just that gem over the years. (Never Let Me Go!) In fact, I’m pretty sure all of his novels have been recipients of one award or another.
Born, quite literally, in the smoldering ashes of Nagasaki, Japan in 1954, he and his family moved to England when he was six years old. In recognition of his 35-year professional writing career, the Nobel Committee had this to say:
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017 is awarded to the English author Kazuo Ishiguro
“who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”.
Congratulations to Mr. Ishiguro, one of only three writers I’ve ever heard the great David Mitchell says he looks up to (the other two being A.S. Byatt and Seamus Heaney).
Per my good friend Allan W.’s question, the Nobel Prize for Literature has not always been given to novelists. Aside from Robert Zimmerman winning it as a song writer, Svetlana Alexievich, a writer and journalist from Belarus, became the first nonfiction writer to win the award in half a century.