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Nobel literature winner Fosse says ‘writing can save lives’

By AFP - Dec 09,2023 - Last updated at Dec 09,2023

Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse poses for a photo at his home near Frekhaug, north of Bergen in Norway on October 5 (AFP photo)

STOCKHOLM — Nobel Literature Prize laureate Jon Fosse on Thursday said that “writing can save lives”, as he reflected on the many suicides that featured in his writing.

“If my writing also can help to save the lives of others, nothing would make me happier,” the Norwegian playwright said in his Nobel lecture in Stockholm ahead of Sunday’s gala prize ceremony.

Fosse noted that there were more suicides in his works “than I like to think about”.

“I have been afraid that I, in this way, may have contributed to legitimising suicide,” Fosse said.

However, the author said that he had been deeply touched by congratulations following the announcement of his Nobel nod, where fans said his writing “had quite simply saved their lives”.

“In a sense I have always known that writing can save lives, perhaps it has even saved my own life,” Fosse said.

Announcing the prize in early October, the Swedish Academy said the 64-year-old was honoured “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable”.

Sometimes compared to Samuel Beckett, another Nobel-winning playwright, Fosse’s work is minimalistic, relying on simple language that delivers its message through rhythm, melody and silence.

Fosse will receive his prize, which comes with a medal and a sum of 11 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million), from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of scientist and inventor Alfred Nobel.

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