A brief guide to this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for literature



When it was announced that Romanian-born German novelist Herta Müller had won the Nobel Prize for literature this year, I had two immediate reactions: a) the by-now-annual stab of resentment that the blokes in Stockholm have – again – not given Philip Roth the nod; and b) oh, dear, I am such an ignorant git, I haven’t read a single one of Muller’s.

Since 2000, the winners of the Nobel have included VS Naipaul, JM Coetzee, Doris Lessing and Orhan Pamuk. Now along comes another writer (like JM Le Clezio in 2008 and Elfriede Jelinek in 2004) whom I have barely heard of, let alone read.

In the event, this wasn’t as despicable as I’d thought. Only five of Muller’s 20-odd books have been translated into English, the New York Times wrote. And, no, I can’t recall seeing any of them displayed in the window of a bookstore in India.

So I wasted no time in getting up to speed on Muller. So here is some of the stuff I came across. I hope it helps; and that it makes us ready for the moment when the translated books make turn up on the shelves of our bookstores.

1. Here is why the Guardian books blog thinks Muller matters.

2. An interesting essay on the prize and its latest recipient from the New York Times.

3. Excerpts from her writing.

4. Muller on the legacy of the Ceausescu regime.

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