The Swedish Academy has chosen Kazuo Ishiguro as the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature Thursday morning, in an event that began at 7 a.m. ET. You can watch it online.
The academy's citation for Ishiguro said he is a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."
Ishiguro, 62, is a British novelist who was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and whose family moved to Britain when he was 5. He has said that as a kid, he used TV Westerns — like Bonanza and Wagon Train — to help him learn English.
Ishiguro's most well-known work is likely The Remains of the Day, a 1989 novel about an English household in the 1930s that was later adapted into a feature film.
The Swedish Academy surprised the world again when it announced that Kazuo Ishiguro was the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature. Explaining the choice, the Academy's Permanent Secretary, Sara Danius, described a British author "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."
Danius said that Ishiguro's writing combines Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, to which "you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir, but not too much." He is an author of "great integrity" who has developed his own aesthetic style, she added.
Having studied English and philosophy at the University of Kent, Ishiguro completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 1980. His earliest works of literature were created around this time: three short stories that appeared in a 1981 anthology of new authors, while his debut novel, "A Pale View of Hills," was published in 1982. Ishiguro dedicated himself to writing full-time in 1983 after giving up his job as a social worker in a shelter for homeless people.
While Ishiguro's early books did not sell as well in the US, that changed with the novel that's still regarded as his masterwork. "The Remains of the Day" (1989) made the then 35-year-old one of Britain's most successful authors after it won him the Booker Prize and went on to sell more than a million copies in England alone. A 1993 screen adaptation of the story of a loyal and selfless English butler before and after the war saw Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson nominated for as Oscar in the lead roles; the film received eight Oscar nominations.
"How much forgetting is desirable? How much remembering is desirable?" Ishiguro asked in a 2015 interview with DW. There is no simple answer to finding this balance, he said. What makes people devoted servants and subjects? And what makes them commit cruel acts, perhaps with the best intentions?
"The Remains of the Day" begins like a P. G. Wodehouse novel and ends like a Kafkaesque parable, pointed out Sara Danius after the Nobel prize was announced.