WATCH LIVE: Norwegian writer Jon Fosse awarded 2023 Nobel Prize in literature

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STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to Norwegian writer Jon Fosse for “his innovative plays and prose, which give voice to the unsayable,” according to the Swedish Academy.

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One of his country’s most-performed dramatists, Fosse, 64, has written some 40 plays as well as novels, short stories, children’s books, poetry and essays.

Mats Malm, permanent secretary of the academy, announced the prize Thursday in Stockholm. Malm said he reached Fosse by telephone to inform him of the prize and that the writer was driving in the countryside and promised to drive home carefully.

Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel literature committee, said Fosse’s work is rooted “in the language and nature of his Norwegian background.”

Last year, French author Annie Ernaux won the prize for what the prize-giving Swedish Academy called “the courage and clinical acuity” of books rooted in her small-town background in the Normandy region of northwest France.

Photo and TV rehearsal for the premiere of the opera "Sleepless

A 2021 rehearsal for the premiere of the opera “Sleepless,” adapted from a trilogy by Jon Fosse. Photo by Nina Hansch/ picture alliance via Getty Images

Ernaux was just the 17th woman among the 119 Nobel literature laureates. The literature prize has long faced criticism that it is too focused on European and North American writers, as well as too male-dominated.

In 2018, the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, which names the Nobel literature committee, and sparked an exodus of members. The academy revamped itself but faced more criticism for giving the 2019 award to Austria’s Peter Handke, who has been called an apologist for Serbian war crimes.

On Wednesday, the chemistry prize was awarded to Moungi Bawendi of MIT, Louis Brus of Columbia University, and Alexei Ekimov of Nanocrystals Technology Inc. They were honored for their work with tiny particles called quantum dots — tiny particles that can release very bright colored light and whose applications in everyday life include electronics and medical imaging.

Earlier this week, Hungarian-American Katalin Karikó and American Drew Weissman won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries that enabled the creation of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the physics prize went to French-Swedish physicist Anne L’Huillier, French scientist Pierre Agostini and Hungarian-born Ferenc Krausz for producing the first split-second glimpse into the super-fast world of spinning electrons.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded Friday and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences ends the awards season on Monday.

The Nobel Prizes carry a cash award of 11 million Swedish kronor ($1 million) from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. Winners also receive an 18-carat gold medal and diploma when they collect their Nobel Prizes at the award ceremonies in December.

Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands.

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