Swansea University Home - 2009 - 2010

Researcher hails "exceptional" Nobel laureate

08 October 2009 The Romanian-born German novelist, Herta Müller, was announced as the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature today.

Herta Muller

Herta Müller, who was the Centre for Contemporary German Literature's Writer-in-Residence in 1996, was born in Nitzkydorf, Romania, in 1953. She studied German and Romanian literature at Temeswar University and worked as a translator in a machine factory before emigrating to Germany in 1987.

Her work can best be described as autofiction, fictionalised accounts of her experiences of Romania under the rule of Nicolai Ceausescu. Her writing draws links between other totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and explores the impact of dictatorships on friendships and the notion of individuality.

Dr Brigid Haines, Head of Modern Languages in Swansea University's School of Arts and Humanities, edited a book on Herta Müller in 1998, and also discussed her work in Contemporary German Women's Writing: Changing the subject (co-authored with Margaret Littler), which was published in 2004. 

Dr Haines said: "We were delighted to host Herta Müller at Swansea University in 1996. It was evident, even then, that she possessed an exceptional talent that deserved wider recognition.

Müller's work is incredibly poetic and her writing is very heavily influenced by the Romanian language. Although her work has been translated widely, she is still not well-known outside the German-speaking world. That's obviously going to change with the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Our congratulations and best wishes go to Herta Müller. She is a deserving recipient of the Prize and, in my opinion, this international recognition is long overdue."

Video footage of Herta Müller reading from her work at Swansea University in 1996 is available here (http://www.swan.ac.uk/german/Video/#HM).

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