French author Le Clézio wins the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Horace Engdahl, chairman in the Swedish Academy when he proclaims the winner of the Nobel Prize

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio has been awarded by the Swedish Academy with the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. Le Clézio thus wins the prestigious prize of 10 million Swedish krona (US$1.4 million), for being "an author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, an explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilisation," according to the Academy.

His first book, Le Procès-verbal, was published in 1963, when the novelist was 23 years old. Now, aged 68, he receives the Nobel Prize in Literature being recognised as a key figure of French literature.

"As a young writer in the aftermath of existentialism and the nouveau Roman, he was a conjurer who tried to lift words above the degenerate state of everyday speech and to restore to them the power to invoke an essential reality," the Academy wrote in its communiqué. "The emphasis in Le Clezio's work has increasingly moved in the direction of an exploration of the world of childhood and of his own family history."

The writer, now a juror of the Prix Renaudot, wrote pieces such as La Fièvre, L'Extase matérielle, Terra amata, Le Livre des fuites, La Guerre, Désert and Le Chercheur d'or.