This year's Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, reports the AP, a novelist often called France's greatest living writer. The Swedish Academy praised him as an "author of new departures, poetic adventure, and sensual ecstasy." The 68-year-old, who lives part of the year in New Mexico, is the first French author to win the $1.4 million prize since 1985.
Le Clézio was born in Nice in 1940 but soon moved to Nigeria to join his father, a British doctor. His travels through Africa and elsewhere play a central role in his work. Other important themes for Le Clézio are France's colonial history—his breakthrough novel Desert, published in 1980, contrasts the lost cultures of north Africa with modern Europe—and the state of the environment.