The 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Joan Fosse “for her innovative plays and prose that give voice to the unspeakable,” the Swedish Academy announced Thursday in Stockholm.
Foss, 64, was born on the west coast of Norway. His works include about 40 plays, as well as many novels, poems, essays, children’s books and translations.
The group admired the author’s style, known as “Fosse Minimalism”.
“Foss presents everyday situations that are instantly recognizable in our own lives. His language and dramatic reduction of action convey in simple terms the most powerful human emotions of anxiety and powerlessness,” the team said.
His magnum opus—seven works collected in a single volume titled “Septology”—tells the story of an elderly painter and widower who lives alone while reckoning with the realities of religion, identity, art and family life.
The “Septology” – about 800 pages – was praised for its systematic examination. Fosse’s meditative prose is rarely interrupted by periods or other types of punctuation, creating an indirect flow to his philosophical inquiry.
Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB/AFP/Getty Images
Jan Fosse at the Norwegian Theater in Oslo in September 2019.
“Fosse combines strong local ties, linguistic and geographical, with modern artistic techniques,” the group said, listing Irish playwright Samuel Beckett and Austrian poet Georg Trakl as influences on his style.
“Although Fosse shares the pessimistic outlook of his predecessors, his particular Enlightenment view cannot be said to entail a nihilistic contempt for the world. Indeed, his work has great warmth and humor, and an innocent vulnerability to his stark depictions of human experience,” the panel added.