On the evening of October 7, Beijing time, the Swedish Academy announced that it would award the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah.
This decision can be regarded as "upset" to some extent, and many people have never heard of the writer Gurnah before.
So, why this year's Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Guerner?
What are the selection criteria for the Nobel Prize in Literature?
What is the story behind the awards?
A reporter from the Beijing News exclusively interviewed Ellen Mattson, a member of the Swedish Academy's Nobel Prize Committee, to listen to her reveal the story behind the selection of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Mattson is one of the 18 academicians of the Swedish Academy and one of the five members of the Nobel Prize Committee for Literature this year.
It is worth noting that Mattson himself is also a writer and has won many literary awards.
The Swedish Academy was established in 1786 as an independent cultural institution.
Since 1901, the Swedish Academy has been responsible for selection and awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Before January 31 of each year, the Swedish Academy accepts nominations from all over the world; from February to April, the jury selects a preliminary list of 20 people, which will be reduced to 5 before the summer vacation; in the next few months, 18 The academicians will read the works of these 5 people and vote for the winners (the winners must be more than half of the votes to be counted), and the results will be announced in October.
1 Why is Gurnah?
He records the course of history from an individual perspective
Beijing News: Why this year's Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Tanzanian writer Abdul-Razak Gurna?
Alan Mattson: Gulner used beautiful and compassionate words to describe individuals in distress. They set aside everything and worked hard to create their own lives in a new country that might not be popular.
He recorded the course of history from an individual's perspective.
The Beijing News: What touched you most about Guerna's work?
Alan Mattson: What impressed me the most was his ability to create real and vivid characters.
His honesty and truth touched me very much.
Gulner was never satisfied with simple answers, he questioned everything and sought the truth.
Beijing News: We know that there were 220 initial nominees.
Is Gurna your favorite?
Alan Mattson: Gulner finally won this year's literary prize, so he is obviously our favorite writer.
But if you are asking about my personal feelings, because there is a confidentiality agreement, I cannot disclose more details of the selection.
However, there is no doubt that the Swedish Academy unanimously supports our winners.
2 What are the selection criteria?
It's all about the quality of the work
Beijing News: What are the selection criteria of the Nobel Prize Committee?
Has this standard changed in the past hundred years?
Alan Mattson: It's all about the quality of the work.
The winner must be a person who can write excellent works. When you read his works, you can feel a kind of power, and it runs through all the works.
From 1901 to the present, the selection criteria must have undergone some changes. The initial period may be more about searching for idealistic writers.
But up to now, everything is about the quality of literary works.
Beijing News: What is the most difficult part for you in the process of selecting the Nobel Prize winners?
Alan Mattson: The most difficult thing is to choose among all the good writers.
However, after some mysterious process, the final choice is still quite natural and simple.
Beijing News: You are also a novelist yourself.
So in the selection process, do you have any preference for novelists?
Alan Mattson: It must be said that everyone has their own preferences.
But when selecting the Nobel Prize in Literature, I would not favor novelists more than poets, essayists, playwrights, etc.
As mentioned earlier, the Nobel Prize in Literature is selected solely to find those truly outstanding writers.
3 Unpopular writers are more likely to win awards?
Whether the award is awarded has nothing to do with popularity
Beijing News: Among the 118 Nobel Prize winners so far, European writers account for more than 70%, while there are very few winners from Asia and Africa.
What is the reason?
Has the Swedish Academy taken any action to change this situation?
Alan Mattson: We are taking some actions to change this situation, and we have already taken some measures, but due to language barriers, it is still difficult to change this situation.
But at present, we are increasingly using foreign experts to guide us to some language areas or geographic areas that were neglected in the past.
I believe these actions will gradually produce certain effects.
The Beijing News: Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has repeatedly appeared on the Nobel Prize Hot List, but has not yet been awarded.
What is the reason for this?
Alan Mattson: The selection of the Nobel Prize in Literature by the Swedish Academy has nothing to do with the writer's popularity or whether he is a popular candidate.
The final choice was based on the Swedish Academy’s own judgment.
The Beijing News: In recent years, the Nobel Prize winners have been relatively unpopular, so some people say that writers with low popularity may be more likely to win awards than some popular writers.
What do you think of it?
Alan Mattson: I don't quite agree with this view.
For example, in recent years, Bob Dylan (2016), Kazuo Ishiguro (2017), and Sverana Alecevich (2015) are all relatively well-known writers.
4 Advice for young writers?
Awards are not so important, literature is the most important
Beijing News: There are countless writers around the world. How can they win the Nobel Prize?
Alan Mattson: I think that writers all over the world do not need to consider whether they will win prizes, but should focus on writing good works and contributing to literature.
Awards are not that important, literature is the most important.
Beijing News: As a judge of one of the most respected literary awards, what do you want to say to young people who are interested in writing?
Alan Mattson: For those who are interested in writing and intend to become a writer, my suggestion is to read, write, read a lot of excellent literary works, and then commit to writing their own excellent literary works.
Beijing News reporter Xie LianKeywords: