The Free for All is delighted to congratulate 62-year-old English author Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, among a lifetime of moving and haunting works. You can watch the highly publicized announcement here made by Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy–it’s in Swedish, but the surprise and delight in the audience at the announcement of Ishiguro’s name is delightfully clear:
In awarding the prize, the Nobel Prize described Ishiguro as a writer “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”. As Sara Danius, explained in an interview after the announcement, his books deal with “He’s interested in understanding the past…he’s not out to redeem the past. He’s exploring what you have to forget in order to survive in the first place, as an individual, or as a society”.
In a statement released by his publisher, Mr. Ishiguro expressed astonishment at the award, calling it, “amazing and totally unexpected news.”
Kazuo Ishiguro was born in 1954 in Nagasaki, Japan, but was educated in Britain, allowing him to analyze the British class system so acutely, and also to deal with themes of belonging and place in stunning, lyrical, and generally accessible prose.
In an interview with The New York Times two years ago, Mr. Ishiguro recounted how he discovered literature by discovering the adventures of Sherlock Holmes in his local library. “I was around 9 or 10,” he recounted, “and I not only read obsessively about Holmes and Watson, I started to behave like them. I’d go to school and say things like: ‘Pray, be seated’ or ‘That is most singular.’ People at the time just put this down to my being Japanese.” He remembered that he was attracted to the world of Conan Doyle because it was “so very cozy.” It helped ignite his interest in literature. Growing up, one of his idols was Bob Dylan, who was last year’s surprise winner of the Nobel Prize. Mr. Ishiguro, the 29th English-language novelist to win the Noble Prize for literature.
Congratulations to Kazuo Ishiguro!