British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro has been named winner of the 2017 Nobel prize in literature. The English author was commended “novels of great emotional force”, which it said had “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”.
Ishiguro’s win came as a surprise to many because bookmakers such as Margaret Atwood, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Haruki Murakami were nominated for the same award category. But his blue-chip literary credentials return the award to more familiar territory after last year’s controversial selection of the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
Ishiguro whose work include,novels like The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro’s said the Academy, is “marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place”.
“it was “amazing and totally unexpected news. It comes at a time when the world is uncertain about its values, its leadership and its safety. “I just hope that my receiving this huge honour will, even in a small way, encourage the forces for goodwill and peace at this time.” the new Nobel Laureate said this on thursday afternoon.
Born in Japan, Kazuo Ishiguro moved to the UK with his family when he was five. He studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia, going on to publish his first novel, A Pale View of the Hills, in 1982. He has been a full time writer ever since. According to the Academy, the themes of “memory, time and self-delusion” weave through his work, particularly in The Remains of the Day, which won Ishiguro the Booker prize in 1989 and was adapted into a film starring Anthony Hopkins as the “duty-obsessed” butler Stevens.
Ishiguro’s fellow Booker winner Salman Rushdie – who is also regularly named as a potential Nobel laureate – was one of the first to congratulate him. “Many congratulations to my old friend Ish, whose work I’ve loved and admired ever since I first read A Pale View of Hills,” Rushdie said. “And he plays the guitar and writes sings too! Roll over Bob Dylan.”
According to the former poet laureate Andrew Motion, “Ishiguro’s imaginative world has the great virtue and value of being simultaneously highly individual and deeply familiar – a world of puzzlement, isolation, watchfulness, threat and wonder”.
“How does he do it?” asked Motion. “Among other means, by resting his stories on founding principles which combine a very fastidious kind of reserve with equally vivid indications of emotional intensity. It’s a remarkable and fascinating combination, and wonderful to see it recognised by the Nobel prize-givers.”
Kazuo Ishiguro ‘s more recent novels have taken a turn for the fantastical: Never Let Me Go is set in a dystopic version of England, while The Buried Giant, published two years ago, sees an elderly couple on a road trip through a strange and otherworldly English landscape. “This novel explores, in a moving manner, how memory relates to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality,” said the Swedish Academy. Apart from his eight books, which include the short story collection Nocturnes, Ishiguro has written scripts for film and television.