Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Jon Fosse

The Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Literature to the Norwegian author Jon Fosse. Fosse writes his plays, novels and poems in Nynorsk - an official but little-used variety of Norwegian. Commentators see various reasons to welcome the decision.

Open/close all quotes
Avvenire (IT) /

He gives expression to the inexpressible

Avvenire sees two key elements in Fosse's writing:

“The first is technical, namely the repetitions, which are not really repetitions because Fosse sometimes changes the smallest element or detail: even if certain sentences seem the same at first glance, they are not. The second element concerns the attitude to writing and its application to everything: it is as if Fosse brings into his writing, into his words, something ineffable, with the ability to express the inexpressible. It is the same principle that underlies poetry or religion.” (ES) /

Here's to Europe's linguistic wealth spotlights the language in which Fosse writes:

“The laureate writes his plays, novels and poems in a variant of Norwegian that is taught in only 15 percent of schools. ... Political struggles over official, co-official and minority languages are not unique to Spain. In many ways they are part of the richness, diversity and complexity of European history. Often they also reflect the tensions between the local and the standard language. ... Fosse reminds us of the intimacy of languages that is often lost in debates, and how writers can help to recover it.”

Politiken (DK) /

Encouragement in troubled times

Politiken praises not only the author but also the Nobel Prizes themselves:

“As we know, Alfred Nobel made the money to establish the Nobel Prize with dynamite, but it is used year after year to reward achievements that, rather than destroying, build bridges, cleanse, inspire, renew and expand people's field of action. ... At a time when things are going to the dogs in many ways, this is a great encouragement, and one wishes there were many more events in the global attention space to highlight the best. ... As for Fosse, an author who penetrates so far into the depths of the human condition well deserves to gain more readers.”