Nobel Literature Prize 2017: British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wins award

The British author was named the winner of the prestigious award

The author Kazuo Ishiguro. Jeff Cottenden / Faber & Faber
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Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, best known for his book The Remains of the Day, has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Born in Japan, Ishiguro now lives in Britain and writes in English. The Swedish Academy cited him for "novels of great emotional force, (he) has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."

The prize is worth 9 million kronor (or Dh4m).

"The themes Ishiguro is most associated with are already present here: memory, time, and self-delusion," the Academy said.

This is particularly notable in his most renowned novel, The Remains of the Day, which was turned into a film with Anthony Hopkins acting as the duty-obsessed butler Stevens.

"Ishiguro's writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place," it said.

Before this afternoon's announcement the list of possible winners for this year's Nobel Literature Prize was as lengthy as it was prestigious. But there was one thing that commentators appeared to agree upon: the author chosen by the Swedish Academy wouldn't be a rank outsider.

Last year's award-winner, the US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan had rather soured the celebrations by refusing to acknowledge the win and then failing to attend the prize ceremony; he sent Patti Smith instead.

The Canadian feminist and environmental activist Margaret Atwood was one name that was frequently mentioned as a favourite in this year's line up, perhaps because one of her most well-loved works The Handmaid's Tale, which was originally published in 1985, has just been remade for television, winning plaudits at this year's Emmys.

Japan's most celebrated author, Haruki Murakami, was also strong contender, yet again. His novels Norwegian Wood, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and 1Q84 have all won considerable critical acclaim.

Kenyan novelist and writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o was also very much in the frame. The last black author to win the Nobel was Toni Morrison in 1993. The Turkish author and Istanbul's favourite son, Orhan Pamuk, was the last Muslim to win in 2006.


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