In Praise of the Unknown Nobelist
by Laura Baudo Sillerman
The announcement of Herta Muller’s Nobel Prize in Literature praised her as a writer “who with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.” With those words and a string of encomiums, Stockholm gave us our twelfth female Nobel Laureate in Literature. Just twelve women in 109 years, half of those have been awarded after 1991. Twenty-five years went between Nelly Sachs accepting the prize in 1966 and Nadine Gordimer giving her acceptance address in Stockholm in 1991. This has, of course, been a banner Nobel year for women; Stockholm seems to be working hard to stay true to its claims of being gender blind. Muller became the fourth woman to win a Nobel this year when hers was announced and this week a fifth was added (see box).
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