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French writer wins 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature
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French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday.

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio.

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio [File Photo: cnsphoto] 

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, 68, 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 and this development has culminated in his novels "Revolutions" from 2003 and "L'Africain" from 2004, the academy added.

"It's a great honor for me, I'm sincerely grateful to the Swedish Academy," Le Clezio told Swedish Radio, adding that he was "very moved."

Among the better-known of his more than 20 novels are "La Guerre " (1970, War) "Mondo" (1978), "Desert" (1980), "Le Chercheur d'Or" (1985, The Prospector), "Onitsha" (1991) and "Etoile Errante" (1992, Wandering Star), according to reports reaching here from Paris.

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio [File Photo]

Le Clezio was born in 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 10 million Swedish kronor (1.4 million U.S. dollars).

(Xinhua News Agency October 10, 2008)

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