Kazuo Ishiguro wins 2017 Nobel Literature Prize

A file photo of author Kazuo Ishiguro.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

British author Kazuo Ishiguro, best known for his novel The Remains of the Day, has won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 5, the Swedish Academy said.

The 62-year-old writer, "in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world," the Academy wrote in its citation.

Born in Nagasaki, he moved to Britain with his family when he was five years old, only returning to visit Japan as an adult.

Both his first novel, A Pale View of Hills, from 1982 and the subsequent one, An Artist of the Floating World, from 1986, take place in Nagasaki a few years after World War II.


"The themes Ishiguro is most associated with are already present here: memory, time, and self-delusion," the Academy said.

"This is particularly notable in his most renowned novel, The Remains of the Day," which was turned into a film with Anthony Hopkins acting as the duty-obsessed butler Stevens.

"Ishiguro's writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place," it said.

Apart from his eight books, Mr. Ishiguro has also written scripts for film and television.

A look at Kazhuo Ishiguro’s eight novels

‘Flabbergastingly flattering’

Mr. Ishiguro told the BBC that winning the Prize was a "magnificent honour" and "flabbergastingly flattering".

He said:

"It's a magnificent honour, mainly because it means that I'm in the footsteps of the greatest authors that have lived, so that's a terrific commendation.

"The world is in a very uncertain moment and I would hope all the Nobel prizes would be a force for something positive in the world as it is at the moment.

"I'll be deeply moved if I could in some way be part of some sort of climate this year in contributing to some sort of positive atmosphere at a very uncertain time."

His publisher Faber & Faber said earlier on Twitter: "We're THRILLED Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel Prize!"

Weeks of speculation and buzz about the Academy’s pick for 2017 ended on Thursday, when its permanent secretary Sara Danius announced the winner.


Award for Bob Dylan

The 2016 literature prize went to American songwriter Bob Dylan, and the previous year’s to Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich. Ms. Danius said the choice of Mr. Ishiguro did not show intention to avoid the controversy sparked by last year’s pick of Mr. Dylan.

“No, we don’t consider these issues. So we thought that last year was a straightforward choice we picked one of the greatest poets in our time. And this year, we have picked one of the most exquisite novelists in our time,” she said.

The first singer-songwriter to win the prestigious prize, the rock legend didn’t comment on his Nobel for several weeks and then snubbed the formal prize ceremony in Stockholm.

The Academy is known for its cloak-and-dagger methods to prevent any leaks, resorting to code names for authors and fake book covers when reading in public.

Of the 114 laureates honoured since the prize was first awarded to France's Sully Prudhomme in 1901, only 14 are women.

But the Academy insists it doesn't take gender into consideration, nor nationality, language or genre for that matter.

"The gender balance among those who have received the prize is embarrassing" and the Swedish Academy must be aware of it, Rakel Chukri, the cultural editor of regional daily Sydsvenskan, had told AFP.

Pundits, therefore, tried to dissect the Academy’s latest interests to guess the winner, while punters had a field day on betting sites. On October 4, novelists Haruki Murakami of Japan and Ngugi wa Thiong'o of Kenya had the lowest odds on numerous sites. They were followed by Canada's Margaret Atwood, whose novel The Handmaid's Tale was recently made into a well-received TV series, and Israel’s Amos Oz.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 7:01:47 AM |

Next Story