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Chinese novelist wins Nobel literature prize

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Chinese novelist Gao Xingjian has won the Nobel Prize in literature for his "bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity," and becomes the first Chinese writer to win the prestigious prize.

His work was described as having "opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama."

Gao, 60, born in eastern China and living in France, is a translator, dramatist, director and critic, as well as being a novelist.

None of his plays have been performed in China since 1986, when his work "The Other Shore" was banned.

A 'perspicacious sceptic'

He left China in 1987 and settled in Paris the following year as a political refugee.

The prize this year is worth 9 million kronor ($915,000). The Swedish Academy cited Gao for his writing about the struggle of the individual.

"He is a perspicacious sceptic who makes no claim to be able to explain the world. He asserts that he has found freedom only in writing," according to the citation.

Guenter Grass won last year's prize as one of the most prominent authors to emerge from a group of young intellectuals who set out to revive German literature after the Nazi era.

The literature award -- usually the first -- was the fifth and last Nobel prize unveiled in Stockholm this week. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will be named Friday in Oslo, Norway.

The Nobel Prizes are funded by a trust set up in the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel said the literature prize should recognise an author whose work moves in an "ideal direction" without specifying exactly what he meant.

Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf will present the prizes as always on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.



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