Thursday, October 12, 2006

And so prize season begins

Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk is this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Nobel Prize in Literature is a funny thing. For an American reading public that often reads only American writers (I mean, really, even how many Canadian writers do you have on your bookshelf?), the Nobel Prize can often be an internationalist tonic. At the same time, my own reaction often waivers between enthusiasm and confusion when each year's award is announced. Pamuk, and last year's winner, Harold Pinter, are internationally renowned heavyweights. The 2004 winner, Elfriede Jelinek, was a bit more controversial. (I would argue, without having actually ever read her, that Jelinek's writing goes a touch beyond being "thematically unified" and borders on "pathological.")

Anyway, you can check out the complete list of winners yourself. Tell me how many Nobel laureates find a valued place on your bookshelf, and how many names you read with a resounding "huh?"

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