Despite a flurry of bets that installed Bob Dylan as the improbable front-runner, in the end, the Nobel Prize in Literature stayed close to home, going to Swedish poet and perennial favorite Tomas Transtromer, the eighth European winner over the past 10 years and the first Swedish writer to win the prize since 1974. In a statement the Nobel Prize committee said Transtromer, 80, won “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”.
Transtromer’s Swedish publisher Bonniers had just released a collection of his work from 1954 to 2004 to celebrate his 80th birthday. “We have waited and waited, we had nearly stopped hoping (for a Nobel) but still not given up the last strand of hope,” Anna Tillgren, spokeswoman for the publisher told the AP. “We are overwhelmed. This is the happiest day ever for many of us working at the publishing house.” The WSJ notes “his works have been translated into more than 50 languages and influenced poets around the globe.”
In the US, Transtromer’s work is published (if not necessarily readily available) from a number of publishers: New Directions brought out THE GREAT ENIGMA: New and Collected Poems in 2006, Graywolf released THE HALF-FINISHED HEAVEN (translated by Robert Bly, a friend of Transtromer) in 2001; and Ecco published SELECTED POEMS: 1954-1986 in 2000. This morning FSG spokesperson Jeff Seroy told us the company will publish an American edition of THE DELETED WORLD, a volume of Transtromer’s poems translated by Robin Robertson and issued in 2006 by UK poetry publisher Enitharmon Press, before Christmas. The title was just acquired by publisher Jonathan Galassi.
Nobel Prize Page
In other awards news, the shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize for medicine in literature has been announced:
Alice LaPlante, TURN OF MIND
Sarah Manguso, THE TWO KINDS OF DECAY
Siddartha Mukherjee, THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES
Ann Patchett, STATE OF WONDER
Philip Roth, NEMESIS
Louisa Young, MY DEAR I WANTED TO TELL YOU
The winner of the 25,000 pound prize will be announced on November 9.