German novelist Herta Müller, who received death threats in her native Romania after she refused to become an informant for the secret police during Ceausescu’s totalitarian regime, has become only the 12th woman in 108 years to win the Nobel prize for literature.
Praised by the Nobel judges for depicting the “landscape of the dispossessed” with “the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose”, Müller returns constantly to the oppression, dictatorship and exile of her own life in her novels, essays and poems.
In a statement this afternoon Müller said she was “delighted” by the award, and “still couldn’t believe it”.
Worth 10m Swedish kronor (£893,000), the Nobel is awarded to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”, as described in Alfred Nobel’s will of 1895.
According to the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Peter Englund, Müller’s “moral momentum” means she fits the criteria for the award “perfectly”.