For the second time in as many years, a University of Nebraska Press author is the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. German writer Herta Müller, whose short story collection Nadirs was published by the Press in 1999, is the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Literature.
Müller was born in 1953 in the Banat, a German-language region of Romania, and the stories of Nadirs are based on her experiences growing up there. Nadirs, Müller’s first published work, was originally published in Romania under the title Niederungen in a censored format. The complete manuscript was smuggled to Germany in 1984 and published in full. Müller herself immigrated to West Berlin in 1987. She has received numerous literary awards, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Nadirs, which was published as part of the University of Nebraska Press’s European Women Writer’s series, is one of just five of Müller’s books available in English. The stories in Nadirs, told from the standpoint of a young girl, weave together a bleak picture of Banat, where violence and poverty are rampant, and the vivid dreams of the narrator. The judges praised this unique writing style, saying “with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, (Müller) depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.”
Müller is the second UNP author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in as many years. Last year’s winner, J.M.G. Le Clézio, has published a short story collection, The Round and Other Cold Hard Facts, and a novel, Onitsha, with UNP. Another of Le Clézio’s short story collections, Mondo and Other Stories, is forthcoming from UNP next year.
Müller will receive her prize at a Dec. 10 ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.
Founded in 1941, the UNP publishes 160 new and reprint titles annually under the Nebraska and Bison Books imprints respectively, along with 20 journals. It is the largest and most diversified university press between Chicago and California, with nearly 3,000 books in print. UNP is best known for publishing works in Indigenous studies, history and literature of the American West, literary translation and sports history. It also has a long-standing dedication to making available the best literature from around the world. With nearly 200 translated titles currently in print from five different languages, the number and breadth of translated titles has distinguished UNP as one of the largest, most active American publishers of translated work.