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Updated: March 21, 2010 19:26 IST

Herta Mueller wins 2009 Nobel literature prize

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Herta Mueller, winner of the 2009 Nobel literature prize.
Herta Mueller, winner of the 2009 Nobel literature prize.

Romanian-born German writer Herta Mueller has the won the 2009 Nobel Prize in literature.

The Swedish Academy, which has picked the winner, said on Thursday that Ms. Mueller "who with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.”

The 56-year-old author, who emigrated to Germany from then-Communist Romania in 1987, made her debut in 1982 with a collection of short stories titled “Niederungen,” which was promptly censored by the Romanian government. In 1984, an uncensored version was published in Germany and her work depicting life in a small, German-speaking village in Romania was devoured by readers.

That work was followed by “Oppresive Tango” in Romania.

"The Romanian national press was very critical of these works while, outside of Romania, the German press received them very positively,” the Academy said. “Because Mueller had publicly criticised the dictatorship in Romania, she was prohibited from publishing in her own country.”

Because of her vocal criticism of Romania’s government, and its feared secret police, she and her husband left the country.

Ms. Mueller’s parents were members of the German-speaking minority in Romania and her father served in the Waffen SS during World War II.

The prize includes a 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) prize and will be handed out Dec. 10 in the Swedish capital.

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