This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to American poet Louise Glück.
The Swedish Academy, which oversees the award, said Gluck was recognized for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
The prize is given to the person who has “produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”
Chair of the Nobel prize committee, Anders Olsson, also praised the poet’s “candid and uncompromising” voice, which is “full of humour and biting wit.”
Gluck, a professor of English at Yale University, made her debut in 1968 with “Firstborn,” and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and the National Book Award in 2014.
She has published 12 collections of poetry and several volumes of essays on poetry. She was also awarded the National Humanities Medal by Barack Obama at the White House in 2015.
The Academy’s permanent secretary Mats Malm said he had spoken to Gluck just before making the announcement.
“The message came as a surprise, but a welcome one as far as I could tell,” he said.
The award comes after several years of controversy and scandal for the world’s pre-eminent literary accolade.
In 2018 the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners, and sparked a mass exodus of members. After the academy revamped itself in a bid to regain the trust of the Nobel Foundation, two laureates were named last year.
Gluck is the first American to win the prestigious award since Bob Dylan was honored in 2016. Toni Morrison was the last American to receive the prize before him, winning in 1993.