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Authors Guild Congratulates Jon Fosse, the 2023 Nobel Laureate for Literature

Gold Nobel Prize medal isolated on a white background

We are delighted to learn of the Nobel committee’s selection of the esteemed writer Jon Fosse, who has been recognized, according to the committee, “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.” Writing in Norwegian Nynorsk (a language created in the 19th century based on a mix of Norwegian dialects), Fosse’s prolific body of work includes over seventy novels, poems, children’s books, essays, and plays, which have been translated into more than fifty languages. He holds the distinction of being one of the most performed Norwegian playwrights since Henrik Ibsen, with his productions gracing over a thousand stages worldwide.

Fosse’s works, known for their minimalistic and profoundly contemplative tone, are admired for their poetic style. They are seen as a modern continuation of the dramatic tradition established by Ibsen in the 19th century and have frequently been placed within the tradition of post-dramatic theater. According to the Booker Committee, Fosse’s work reflects the inspiration of authors such as Samuel Beckett, Georg Trakl, Thomas Bernhard, Olav H. Hauge, Franz Kafka, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, and the Bible.

Throughout his career, Fosse has received numerous accolades, including being made a chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite of France in 2003 and ranking among the Top 100 living geniuses by The Daily Telegraph. He has been granted the Grotten, an honorary residence in Oslo, by the King of Norway for his significant contributions to Norwegian arts and culture. Fosse’s literary achievements extend to winning the 2015 Nordic Council’s Literature Prize for a remarkable trilogy and being a consultant for the 2011 Norwegian translation of the Bible.

Fosse’s works have been translated into Persian and performed in Iran. Notably, several of his plays have been translated and directed for American audiences, adding to his global impact. His novel A New Name: Septology VI-VII, translated by Damion Searls, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022 and was a finalist for the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.

In a historic moment, Fosse is the first Nynorsk writer to receive this prestigious honor and the fourth Norwegian writer to join this esteemed list, following in the footsteps of Sigrid Undset, who won it in 1928.