French Writer J.M.G. Le Clézio Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio has become the 14th French writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

On Thursday the Swedish Academy announced that Le Clézio had been awarded the $1.43 million prize.

Amid debate over purported bias against American writers, the Swedish Academy on Thursday awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for literature to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, a cosmopolitan French novelist, children’s author and essayist regarded by some French readers as one of the country’s greatest living writers.

An academy official called him a “citizen of the world”, reflecting a canon of work depicted by the academy as distilled from experience in Mexico, Central America and North Africa and suffused with a quest for lost culture and new spiritual realities.

In its citation, the prize committee in Stockholm called him an “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.” The prize, won last year by the British author Doris Lessing, was worth $1.43 million.

“I am very moved, very touched. It’s a great honor for me,” Le Clézio told Swedish public radio.

He was the 14th French writer to win the prize since it was created in 1901. Previous French winners include Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and André Gide.

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