• Sweden's news in English
Patrick Modiano wins Nobel Literature prize
Frenh author Patrick Modiano has won the Nobel Literature prize. Photo: TT

Patrick Modiano wins Nobel Literature prize

The Local · 9 Oct 2014, 13:40

Published: 09 Oct 2014 12:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Oct 2014 13:40 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The award was announced by Peter Englund, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy.

He said that the French writer was being recognised "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".

Philip Roth, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Haruki Murakami were the bookmakers' favourites to take the prestigious prize.

Patrick Modiano will take home 8.0 million Swedish kronor – just over $1,113,000.

He has been writing since the 1960s and will turn 70 next year.

The author is a household name in France and has written novels, screenplays and children's books.

Ten things to know about Patrick Modiano

He was born in a west Paris suburb two months after the second world war ended in Europe in July 1945 and he wrote about life under Nazi occupation.

His main themes are identity, memory and loss, with most of his books less than 150 pages long.

His father was of Jewish Italian origins and met his Belgian actress mother in Paris.

Modiano previously won the prestigious Prix Goncourt prize for his novel Missing Person in 1978.

When the author was reached on Thursday afternoon, he responded to the fact that he had won as being "weird". 

The novelist is the 11th French writer to win the prize and his achievement has grabbed the headlines in his home country, as reported by The Local France.

Journalists from around the world were in Stockholm for the announcement. Photo: TT

Read The Local's live blog from the Nobel Prize Announcements

A total of 210 people were nominated for the Nobel Literature award in 2014, with other names touted for the prize including US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, Syrian poet Adonis, Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, British novelist and essay writer Salman Rushdie and Austrian novelist Peter Handke.

Betting on French novelist Patrick Modiano had surged ahead of the award's announcement on Thursday.

Modiano rose to sixth place in betting firm Ladbrokes' ranking Wednesday after being heavily backed by smaller-staking customers, Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge told news agency AFP.

His odds were lowered to 10/1, from more than 50/1 last week.

Asked about the changing odds, Peter Englund, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy told The Local:

Story continues below…

"Yesterday? Where? Well, I have no comments about that. That's a somewhat overrated question. I can't answer it. We have no indications of a leak. We have lots of names that have gone from 50-1 to to 10-1 over the years. You can take that as a proof that there's no leak, as those names haven't won. It's been a great number of years since the odds predicted a winner."

Last year the prize was picked up by Canadian short story writer Alice Munro. Other previous literature laureates include former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US author Ernest Hemingway and Indian poet Rabindranth Tagore.

The Swedish chemist behind the Nobel Prizes, Alfred Nobel, developed an interest in literature as a child and owned "a rich and broad selection of literature in different languages", according to the Nobel Prize website.

During the last years of his life, he also tried his hand as an author and began writing fiction. Literature was the fourth prize area Nobel mentioned in his will, when he asked for much of his fortune to be used to launch the awards.

The Nobel Prize for Economics will be revealed on Monday October 13th, the final prize to be announced in Stockholm. In Oslo, the Nobel Peace Prize will be revealed on Friday October 10th.

All the winners will receive their awards in December.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Facebook slammed for cutting Swedish breast cancer video
File photo of the landing page of the Swedish version of Facebook. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant removed a breast cancer awareness video because it deemed the images "offensive," according to the Swedish Cancer Society.

Pastor rapped for depicting rival as Nazi in church play
A different pastor. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The pastor allegedly found it funny.

In Pictures: Look inside this perfect Swedish island home
This modern Gotland home was designed and built by two Swedes. Photo: United Frog Studios/AB

Anna-Lena and Johan designed and built their home with tall beautiful windows, a smart heating system, and a separate section for their greyhounds.

Cannabis worth millions seized at Swedish port
A file photo of a Swedish police cannabis find not related to the story. Photo: Polisen

The 300kg haul was found by in a truck which drove off a ferry in Karlskrona.

Roll over Volvo: there’s a new Swedish car in town
Photo: Björn Olsson

Car developers in Gothenburg have given Volvo a new sibling.

Thaw trip: Swedish PM Löfven heads to Saudi Arabia
Margot Wallström was at the centre of the 2015 diplomatic crisis. She will not join the Prime Minister on his trip to Saudi Arabia. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

There are fences that need mending.

Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
This shot of snow in western Sweden may not be as far away as you think. Photo: Johan Eklund/TT

...and it's still only October.

Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
The new rules are unfair, say Swedish IB pupils. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB scanpix/TT

A new system for converting the grades of International Baccalaureate students in Sweden will make it almost impossible for them to get into top Swedish universities, it has been claimed.

Education doesn’t always pay in Sweden: study
Nurses are paid less than a lot of non-college graduates. Photo: Bertil Ericsson/TT

Half of Swedish graduates would earn more in their lifetime if they instead started work straight after high school, a new study shows.

What's On in Sweden
Five ways to discover something new in Sweden this weekend
Frank Zappa's symphonic works will be performed in Malmö this weekend. Photo: Anonymous/AP

From a performance of Frank Zappa's unheralded orchestral work to an intriguing combination of circus and opera, Sweden has some unique events this weekend.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Blog updates

8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »


6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
People-watching: October 5th
Must-watch: Incredible time-lapse video of Northern Lights in Sweden
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
jobs available