2008 Nobel Prize for Peace and Literature

These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to fraternity between nations in Alfred Nobel’s spirit,” the committee said. The most recent achievement of his peacekeeping efforts is the 2005 peace agreement between the Indonesian government and the rebels in the province of Aceh. Although Ahtisaari has been a nominee for the prize several times, the choice as this year’s winner came as a considerable surprise. Favourites this year included Chinese dissidents Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia, Vietnamese Buddhist leader Thich Quang Dota, and the US-based Human Rights Watch organisation.

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy announced on October 9. The Academy cited Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio as “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.”  Le Clezio, 48, received much attention with his first novel The Interrogation in 1963 and made the breakthrough as a novelist with Desert in 1980, for which he was rewarded a prize from the French Academy.  This novel Desert contains magnificent images of a lost culture in the North African desert, contrast with a depiction of Europe seen through the eyes of unwanted immigrants, the Swedish Academy said in the statement.  The emphasis in Le Clezio’s work has increasingly moved in the direction of an exploration of the world of childhood and of his own family history, the academy added. Le Clezio was born 1940 in Nice of France, but both parents had strong family connections with the former French colony Mauritius.At the age of eight, he moved to Nigeria with his family. During the month-long voyage to Nigeria, he began his literary career with two book Un long voyage and Oradi noir.

 He has taught at universities in Bangkok, Mexico City, Boston, Austin and Albuquerque among other places. Since the 1990s, Le Clezio and his wife share their time between Albuquerque in New Mexico, the island of Mauritius and Nice. This was the fourth of the prestigious Nobel Prizes handed out this year, with awards in chemistry, physics and medicine made in the past three days.  The Nobel Prizes have been awarded annually since 1901 to those who “conferred the greatest benefit on mankind during the preceding year.”  The annual Nobel Prizes are usually announced in October and are handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and the inventor of dynamite. Each prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma and a cash award of 1.4 million U.S. dollars.

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