Victoria Brown, Arts and Entertainment’s Co-Editor.
Kazuo Ishiguro, author of ‘The Remains of the Day’ and ‘Never Let Me Go,’ has won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year. According to the Swedish academy, Ishiguro’s novels are “of great emotional force” and have “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” His work is best known for exploring themes of “memory, time, and self-delusion.”
Ishiguro was born in Japan, and his family moved to Britain when he was five years old. He graduated from the University of Kent, and completed his Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 1980. Since then he has written eight books, which have been translated into over 40 languages. His bestselling novels are characterised by being set in the past, pathos, and by unreliable first-person narrators who slowly reveal their flaws as the stories unravel. His dystopian novel ‘Never Let Me Go,’ is set in a parallel universe during the 1980’s and 1990’s and has scientific elements, and ‘The Remains of the Day,’ is set in the large country house of an English lord in the period surrounding World War II. Both novels have been adapted into successful feature films. His latest novel fantasy ‘The Buried Giant,’ (2015) explores how memory is related to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality. His works have been compared to Henry James, Jane Austen, and Salman Rushdie.
Previous winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature include Toni Morrison and our own homegrown playwright and poet Seamus Heaney. Among those tipped to win this year included Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, author of the ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ and Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o, whose novels include ‘Weep not, child’ and ‘Wizard of the Crow.’ But it was Ishiguro who was awarded the prestigious prize.
In response to his win, he said: “It’s a magnificent honour, mainly because it means that I’m in the footsteps of the greatest authors that have lived, so that’s a terrific commendation. The world is in a very uncertain moment and I would hope all the Nobel Prizes would be a force for something positive in the world as it is at the moment. I’ll be deeply moved if I could in some way be part of some sort of climate this year in contributing to some sort of positive atmosphere at a very uncertain time.”