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French author Le Clezio wins Nobel Prize

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  • French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio wins Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Committee: Le Clezio is "author of new departures" and "sensual ecstasy"
  • Nobel award ceremonies take place in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10
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(CNN) -- French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio has won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, the Nobel Foundation announced Thursday.

French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio has won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature.

French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio has won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature.

The committee said Le Clezio was an "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization."

Le Clezio has written some 30 books including novels, essays, and short stories. Critics have found him hard to define, with his writing and subject matter having changed considerably over time, according to an article in Label France, a magazine published by the French government.

His work reflects ecological concerns, rebellion against the intolerance of Western nationalist thought, and his fascination with Native Americans, according to the magazine.

Le Clezio told the interviewer his books were less a matter of expressing ideas, and more an expression of his beliefs.

"When I write I am primarily trying to translate my relationship to the everyday, to events," he said. "We live in a troubled era in which we are bombarded by a chaos of ideas and images. The role of literature today is perhaps to echo this chaos."

Le Clezio's first novel, "Le Proces-Verbal" (Minutes of a Meeting) was published in 1963 and won Le Clezio the prestigious Theophraste Renaudot prize when he was just 23.

His fascination with Native Americans started when he did his military service in Mexico, Le Clezio told the magazine. He traveled to Panama and spent four years with the Emberas Indian forest population.

Le Clezio described it as a "deeply moving experience" that was completely different to the life he knew in Europe, the magazine said.

The author now divides his time between Albuquerque, New Mexico; his family's native Mauritius; and the French city of Nice, where he grew up, the magazine said.

Le Clezio said he has always felt like an exile in his own country because of his family's roots in Mauritius, a mixed culture with Indian, African, and European influences.

"I grew up telling myself that there was a somewhere else which embodied my true homeland," he told the magazine. "One day I would go there and I would know what it was. So in France I always thought of myself a little bit of an 'outsider.' On the other hand, I love the French language, which is perhaps my true country! But thinking of France as a nation, I must say I have rarely identified with its priorities."

The Nobel award ceremonies take place in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10. The only Nobel Prize not awarded in Sweden is the one for peace, which is presented in Oslo, Norway.

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