Inside the mind of Herta Muller, 2009 Nobel Prize winner

The 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature has been announced and the winner is… Herta Müller!

Wait, who? It’s a question that most readers across the English-speaking world have been asking today, accompanied by much head-scratching. The facts are that Müller is a 56-year-old Romanian-born German author, whose award-winning writing focuses on the hardships in living under the harsh dictatorship of Romanian leader, Nicolae Ceauşescu. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of her, keep in mind that while most of her numerous works have been published in German, only a mere five have ever been translated to English.

Müller spent over 30 years living in Romania. During her university years, she studied Romanian and German literature, and was a member of Aktionsgruppe Banat, a literary society that fought for freedom of speech. While German is her first language, Muller has also publicly stated that she finds Romanian to be a lot more poetic and poignant, and has derived much influence from its folklore and folk music.

In her working years, Müller had several scary run-ins with the Securitate, the secret police group of Communist Romania – she was threatened, slandered, captured, interrogated, critised by Romanian press and eventually banned from publishing in her own country. Later, she made the move to Germany with her husband, Richard Wagner (also a writer), where she was allowed to publish without fearing censorship. Of her novels, she describes them as “autofiction”, meaning that while the facts are based on her real life and real experiences, the stories are crafted as fiction.

Today, October 8 2009, it was officially announced that Herta Müller has won this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, making her the 12th woman in 108 years to win this prize. The Swedish Academy commended her for her bravery and passion in relating the hardships suffered by an entire nation, saying that “with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose,  [she] depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”. The awarded prize is a whopping $1.4 million.

Learn more about Muller and her influences at Infloox.

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21 Comments on “Inside the mind of Herta Muller, 2009 Nobel Prize winner”

  1. n d sharma Says:

    I have not read Muller’s works but will read now.I have found that women writers have generally greater penetration into human psyche than male writers. What a pity that only 12 women were selected in 108 years for Nobel Prize.

    • infloox Says:

      Yes, I was pretty surprised when I found out that number too! I really wonder why it’s that low. But back to Muller – from what I’ve seen of her work so far, she manages to weave fact with fiction quite deftly. I mean it still reads as a fascinating fictional narrative, but she’s taken a lot of background from her own life. It takes skill to be able to do that without turning it into a full fledged autobiography!

    • George Smith Says:

      Being presented with a Nobel Prize is no longer a special event, nor does it carry and special significance.

      Anyone can win the prize if one is a left-wing idiot. No special accomplishments are needed, as long as you belong to that group of left-wing nuts.

      We have seen this occur the past two times by Al Gore and now Barak Hussein Obama.

  2. gisdude Says:

    To be honest, I’ve never heard of her until now. I would like to read that “Plum” book. Sounds like she touches on topics that resonate with me, big brother, free thinking.

    • Nicole Says:

      I can definitely recommend “The land of green plums”. Everyone should read it at least once.. It’s a masterpiece! I found a list of all her books and awards on http://www.herta-muller.com. Next up for me is ”The Appointment” which I bought there. Apperently powered by Amazon..

  3. bony Says:

    great writer with great books

  4. Martinez Says:

    yeah, Meine Ehre Heist Treue

  5. Marion Says:

    she is a great woman


  6. […] Inside the mind of Herta Muller, 2009 Nobel Prize winner […]


  7. […] Nobel Prize Winner for Literature – Herta Muller The 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature is Herta Muller.  infloox, the website on influential people’s influential books has a good entry Ms. […]


  8. […] Inside the mind of Herta Muller, 2009 Nobel Prize winner […]

  9. Marsha Says:

    I will read her writing now. Had not heard of her, but it sounds as if her writing is passionate and excellent.
    Enjoyed the post.

  10. mehwish Says:

    i never heard of her but i m really impressd by her n i’ll red her now


  11. OK, this post is very interesting, so we can know her (I didn’t know her at all!). But what about the “inside the mind” of her? It’s great tath you have written about her trajectory, but do you know anything about her ideas? More information will be appreciated.
    My first time in your blog: it’s very interesting. Congratulations!


  12. […] Inside the mind of Herta Muller, 2009 Nobel Prize winner […]

  13. Kata Says:

    never heard about Herta.. after this price, sure i ll be a mainstream rider and read her… i just hope, she did not get it for living in the communism under Ceasusescu… as other 20 million did, if yes, then we deserve one price also..

    • infloox Says:

      We should note though that in some of the news articles and press releases, they have mentioned that the Prize coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Fall of Communism, so that was in part why she was picked. There has been some criticism about this…

  14. Saleha Says:

    Glad to hear it. Waiting to read her works. Hope the reason for getting it not her life but her work too.

  15. Saleha Says:

    Its great news, after all only 12 of them hit the jackpot. It should have been more. Why men are always vindictive about womens work. The reason I think long time ago a woman borrowed bit of Adams rib. I look forward to reading my fellow writers work

  16. draabe Says:

    When you consider how many writers – even how many great writers – there are (and many have written about communism), it is completely ignorant to say that a Nobel Prize means nothing.

    It is, of course, an incredible honor, and those who criticize it are saying much more about themselves than they are about the prize.

    Thank you for this background on Herta Mueller.


  17. […] Inside the mind of Herta Muller, 2009 Nobel Prize winner […]


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