'Writing can save lives,' says Nobel literature winner Fosse


Norwegian author Jon Fosse, Literature Nobel Prize winner 2023, makes a visit to the Stockholm suburb Rinkeby library to meet school students, in Stockholm, Sweden on Dec 8. Photo: Reuters

Nobel Literature Prize laureate Jon Fosse said this week that "writing can save lives," as he reflected on the many suicides that featured in his writing.

"If my writing also can help to save the lives of others, nothing would make me happier," the Norwegian playwright said in his Nobel lecture in Stockholm ahead of Sunday's gala prize ceremony.

Fosse noted that there were more suicides in his works "than I like to think about".

"I have been afraid that I, in this way, may have contributed to legitimising suicide," said Fosse.

However, the author said that he had been deeply touched by congratulations following the announcement of his Nobel nod, where fans said his writing "had quite simply saved their lives."

"In a sense I have always known that writing can save lives, perhaps it has even saved my own life," Fosse said.

Announcing the prize in early October, the Swedish Academy said the 64-year-old was honoured "for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable".

Sometimes compared to Samuel Beckett, another Nobel-winning playwright, Fosse's work is minimalistic, relying on simple language that delivers its message through rhythm, melody and silence.

Fosse will receive his prize, which comes with a medal and a sum of 11 million Swedish kronor (about US$1mil, RM4.7mil), from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of scientist and inventor Alfred Nobel. - AFP

Those who struggle with thoughts of suicide can reach out to the Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935/ 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999 / 019-261 5999 on WhatsApp); Jakim’s family, social and community care centre (011-1959 8214 on WhatsApp); or Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929/email sam@befrienders.org.my / befrienders.org.my/centre-in-malaysia).

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In Culture

Malaysia's master of historical fiction longlisted for Walter Scott Prize
Nor Tijan Firdaus' artworks give new purpose to e-waste
A cheeky Sang Kancil tames a grumpy Dragon King in new children's musical
Enter the dragons of comics, from Shenron and Kaido to Little Dragon
Communities rally to save Penang House of Music from closure
Yangsze Choo's 'The Fox Wife' reveals a hidden world of mythical creatures
KL Alternative Bookfest returns with indie literary buzz, author encounters
Love bookstores? Get a load of these novels set in scenic bookshops
How the Internet is propelling the resurgence and growth of printed books
Syed Hussein Alatas' legacy: what it means to be Malaysian

Others Also Read