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|A Child Of Nigeria’ Wins Nobel Prize For Literature by wetman(m): 8:02pm On Oct 11, 2008|
The highly respected Nobel prize for Literature has been won by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, a French writer, who lived part of his childhood in Onitsha, Nigeria, and even wrote a book named after the town, recollecting his memories of the city on the banks of the Niger.
Nice-born Le Clezio moved to Nigeria with his family at the age of eight when he commenced writing. He wrote his first works – “Un Long Voyage” (A long journey) and “Oradi Noir” – during a month-long journey to Nigeria. His father had been positioned as a doctor in Onitsha during World War 11.
During his stay at Onitsha, he also made a list of seven of his forthcoming books. French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a statement hailed the laureate as “A child of Nigeria and Mauritius, a teenager in Nice, a nomad of the American and African deserts, Jean-Marie Le Clezio is a citizen of the world, a child of all continents and of all cultures.”
Ironically, the region of Nigeria that inspired the writer has produced great writers such as Chinua Achebe, late Cyprian Ekwensi and just recently, Chimamanda Adichie.
While conferring the prize on him, the Swedish Academy which decides the winner of the coveted 10 million Swedish crown ($1.4 million) prize, praised the 68-year-old’s adventurous novels, essays and children's books.
“His works have a cosmopolitan character. Frenchman, yes, but more so a traveller, a citizen of the world, a nomad,” Permanent Secretary of the Academy, Horace Engdahl, told a news conference to announce the laureate.
Underlining his international credentials, Le Clezio, who describes himself as French and Mauritian, answered questions in English, French and Spanish at a Paris press conference.
In the past, Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organisation formed in Nigeria by French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, also won the Nobel.
According to the Swedish Academy's web site, Le Clezio studied English at a British university and taught at institutions in Bangkok, Mexico City, Boston, Austin and Albuquerque, among others.
Le Clezio also spent long periods in Mexico and Central America and married a Moroccan woman in 1975. Since the 1990s he and his wife have shared their time between Albuquerque in New Mexico, the island of Mauritius and Nice, the Academy added.
The author said he believed French culture was a melting pot of influences. “The French language is a result of a mix of cultures. It has received contributions from every corner of the world. That is what is wonderful about French culture. It is a place of encounters.”
Le Clezio's first novel was “Le proces-verbal” (The Interrogation), written when he was 23. It went on to win the Renaudot prize in France.
Seen as an experimental writer in the 1960s, Le Clezio was preoccupied by themes including the environment and childhood. His big breakthrough came in 1980 with “Desert”, which the Academy said “contains magnificent images of a lost culture in the North African desert, contrasted with a depiction of Europe seen through the eyes of unwanted immigrants.
“A great traveller, he embodies the global reach of France's culture and values in a globalised world.”
Even early on, Le Clezio stood out as an ecologically engaged author, an orientation that is accentuated with the novels Terra amata (1967; Terra Amata, 1969), Le livre des fuites (1969; The Book of Flights, 1971), La guerre (1970; War, 1973) and Les giants (1973; The Giants, 1975). His novel, Desert (1980), fetched him a prize from the French Academy. This work contains magnificent images of a lost culture in the North African desert, contrasted with a depiction of Europe seen through the eyes of unwanted immigrants. The main character, the Algerian guest worker Lalla, is a utopian antithesis to the ugliness and brutality of European society.
During the same period, Le Clezio published the meditative essay collections L'extase matirielle (1967), Mydriase (1973) and Ha• (1971), the last of which shows influences from Indian culture. Long stays in Mexico and Central America in the period 1970 to 1974 were of decisive significance for his work, and he left the big cites in search of a new spiritual reality in the contact with the Indians. He published Voyage de l'autre c™tÎ in 1975, the same year he married Jemia. The book gives an account of what he learned in Central America. Le Clezio began the translation of the major works of the Indian tradition, such as Les prophÎties du Chilam Balam. Le r_ve mexicain ou la pensÎe interrompue (1998) testifies to his fascination with Mexico's magnificent past.
Since the 90s Le Clezio and his wife share their time between Albuquerque in New Mexico, the island of Mauritius and Nice. All but one of the prizes were established in the will of 19th century dynamite tycoon Alfred Nobel and have been handed out since 1901. The economics award was established by Sweden's central bank in 1968.
|Re: A Child Of Nigeria’ Wins Nobel Prize For Literature by davidif: 9:04am On Nov 01, 2016|
Wow! How come I have never heard of him till now.
|Re: A Child Of Nigeria’ Wins Nobel Prize For Literature by davidif: 9:05am On Nov 01, 2016|
Have you read some of his books?
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