German Novelist Herta Mueller Wins Nobel for Literature

Romanian-born writer explores themes of exile, dictatorship
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2009 6:43 AM CDT
Romanian-born German writer Herta Mueller, seen in 2004. The Swedish Academy said her work, 'with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.'   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer/file)
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(Newser) – The Nobel Prize in literature was awarded today to Herta Mueller, a Romanian-born German novelist and poet whose work has explored the brutality of life under the Ceausescu dictatorship. Deprived of her job and threatened by the regime, she fled to Germany in 1987. The Land of Green Plums, published in English in the 1990s, follows five lives through the dictatorship and was written, she says, "in memory of my Romanian friends who were killed under the Ceausescu regime."

Mueller's more recent fiction continues to explore themes of oppression and exile. Her latest novel, Everything I Possess I Carry With Me, takes place in a Ukrainian labor camp, and has received rave reviews in the German press. Mueller is only the 12th woman to win the $1.4 million prize in its century-plus history; the last was English writer Doris Lessing, in 2007.