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Nobel Prize for Literature 2021 to be announced

Award honours laureates in the fields of poetry, fiction and songwriting

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 07 October 2021 10:00 BST
Nobel Literature
Nobel Literature (Copyright 2020 Jacquelyn Martin. All rights reserved.)

The 2021 Nobel Prize for literature is being announced today (Thursday 7 October). The award has in the past honoured poets, novelists and even a songwriter, Bob Dylan.

The Swedish Academy will announce the recipient in Stockholm at about 1pm (12pm BST).

Winners are famously hard to predict. This year's favourites include Kenya's Ngugi wa Thiong'o, French writer Annie Ernaux, Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Canada's Margaret Atwood, and Antiguan-American writer Jamaica Kincaid.

Last year's prize went to American poet Louise Glück, for what the judges described as her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.

Glück was a popular choice after several years of controversy. In 2018 the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners.

The awarding of the 2019 prize to Austrian writer Peter Handke also caused protests because of his strong support for the Serbs during the 1990s Balkan wars.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (£838,000). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

American poet Louise Gluck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2020 (Sigrid Estrada)

On Monday (4 October), the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded on Tuesday (5 October) to three scientists whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Syukuro Manabe of Japan, Klaus Hasselmann of Germany and Giorgio Parisi of Italy were awarded the prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Manabe, 90, and Hasselmann, 89, were cited for their work in “the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”.

The second half of the prize was awarded to Parisi, 73, for “the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”.

Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan were named as laureates of the Nobel Prize for chemistry yesterday (6 October) for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides.

Still to come are Nobel prizes for outstanding work in the fields of peace and economics.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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