The Swedish Nobel Academy has been awarding this year’s Nobel Prizes this week and next, including the Nobel Literature Prize which was awarded today to Romanian-born German writer Herta Muller. The writer was praised for her imaginative use of both poetry and prose, but she says she is still “stunned and cannot believe it”.
So far, the prize for Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Elizabeth H. Blackburn. Carol W. Greider and Jack M. Szostak for their work to discover how chromosomes protect their ends. The 2009 Nobel Physics Prize went to Charles K. Kao, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, widely considered the fathers of fibre optics and digital imaging.
The Chemistry Prize was awarded to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath for uncovering the structure of the ribosome.
Meanwhile, the Nobel Prize for Literature was presented at 13.00 today (local time), the famous Nobel Peace Prize will be presented tomorrow and the Prize for Economic Sciences on Monday. As is traditional with the Nobel Literature Prize, the announcement of the ceremony date was revealed only days in advance as opposed to the other Nobel prizes, which are announced months ahead.
Speculation as to the winner of the literature prize had been mounting in recent weeks, as the Academy keeps its cards close to its chest. The Academy does not discuss any potential candidates in the lead up to the voting and records of deliberations are kept sealed for a period of 50 years.
Last year’s award was won by French author Jean-Marie Gustave le Clezio. Previous Nobel Laureates have included such luminaries as Dorris Lessing, Harold Pinter, Seamus Heaney, Halldor Laxness, V.S.Naipaul, William Golding, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jean-Paul Satre and Rudyard Kipling.