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Kazuo Ishiguro awarded Nobel Prize in Literature 2017

5th October 2017

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 has been awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro, 'who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world', in the words of the Swedish Academy. 

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954, and moved to the United Kingdom when he was five years old. In the late 1970s, Ishiguro graduated in English and Philosophy at the University of Kent, and then went on to study Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He has been a full-time author since his first book, A Pale View of Hills, was published in 1982. Both his first novel and the subsequent one, An Artist of the Floating World take place in Nagasaki a few years after the Second World War. The themes Ishiguro is most associated with are already present here: memory, time and self-delusion. This is particularly notable in his most renowned novel, The Remains of the Day, which was turned into film with Anthony Hopkins acting as the duty-obsessed butler Stevens.

Ishiguro’s writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place. At the same time, his more recent fiction contains fantastic features. With the dystopian work Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro introduced a cold undercurrent of science fiction into his work. In his most recent novel, The Buried Giant, an elderly couple go on a road trip through an archaic English landscape, hoping to reunite with their adult son, whom they have not seen for years. This novel explores, in a moving manner, how memory relates to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality. Apart from his eight books, Ishiguro has also written scripts for film and television.

The Nobel Prize in Literature is one of the five awards established by the will of Swedish scientist and inventor Alfred Nobel, the others being for Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine and Peace, and is perhaps the world's most prestigious literary award. First awarded in 1901, it is awarded for a body of work, rather than just one book, and rewards an author who 'shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction'. 

Find out more about the Prize and its past winners on our Nobel Prize in Literature page.

Visit the Nobel Prize website here.

 

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