France's Le Clezio wins Nobel literature prize

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The Independent Culture

French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won the 2008 Nobel Prize in literature today for his poetic adventure and "sensual ecstasy."

The Swedish Academy called Le Clezio, 68, an "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization."

Le Clezio made his breakthrough as a novelist with "Desert," in 1980, a work the academy said "contains magnificent images of a lost a culture in the North African desert contrasted with a depiction of Europe seen through the eyes of unwanted immigrants."

Le Clezio won a prize from the French Academy for the work.

The Swedish Academy said Le Clezio from early on "stood out as an ecologically engaged author, an orientation that is accentuated with the novels 'Terra Amata,' 'The Book of Flights,' 'War,' and 'The Giants."'

The decision was in line with the Swedish Academy's recent picks of European authors for the prestigious award. Last year, it went to Doris Lessing of Britain.

Besides the 10 million kronor (£820,000) cheque, he will receive a gold medal and be invited to give a lecture at the academy's headquarters in the Swedish capital's Old Town.