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US poet Louise Glück adds Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 to string of top awards

08 October 2020 - 15:16 By Mila de Villiers
A sketch of the 2020 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Louise Glück.
A sketch of the 2020 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Louise Glück.
Image: Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media.

US poet Louise Glück was announced as the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 on Thursday.

The Swedish Academy, which selects the annual winner, lauded Glück for "her unmistakable poetic voice, that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal".

Glück, whose prose often draws on death, loss, relationships, childhood, nature, and Greek mythology, is also a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1993), the Bollingen Prize (2001), and the National Book Award (2014).

The Triumph of Achilles (1985), The Wild Iris (1992), Vita Nova (1999), Averno (2006), and Faithful and Virtuous Night (2014) are among her most recognised collections.

Awarded to the author of any country, who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction", the Nobel Prize in Literature is considered the world's most prestigious literary award.

First presented in 1901, past Nobel Prize for Literature winners include Albert Camus (1957), Gabriel García Márquez (1982), Wole Soyinka (1986), South Africans Nadine Gordimer (1991) and JM Coetzee (2003), and Kazuo Ishiguro (2017).

Soyinka and Gordimer's wins are of special significance, as Soyinka was the first black African author to receive the award and Gordimer the first white African woman to be announced the recipient of this coveted prize.