NORMAN — When Swedish author Tomas Tranströmer won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature this week, it marked the 29th time in 41 years that an author associated with World Literature Today’s Neustadt International Prize for Literature was awarded the world’s top literary prize.
World Literature Today is the University of Oklahoma’s international literary magazine.
Since 1970, 29 of the 41 Nobel winners have been candidates or laureates of the Neustadt Prize, or they served as Neustadt jurors prior to receiving the Nobel.
Tranströmer, 80, is a Swedish writer, poet and translator who won the Neustadt Prize in 1990.
Established in 1969, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature is one of the few international prizes for which poets, novelists and playwrights are equally eligible.
An international jury meets at OU every other year to decide the winner of each $50,000 prize. An endowment from the Neustadt family of Ardmore and Dallas funds the prize.
Tranströmer has sold thousands of volumes in his native country and 10 volumes of his poetry have been translated into more than 60 languages.
“In our world that is often so confused by all kinds of ideologies and doctrines, Tranströmer has always remained a politically non-engaged humanist who understands that he has no right to forget the sufferings of other people, be it in the West or in the East, but who knows that there are no quick and simple solutions to the grave problems of our time,” said Estonian poet and philosopher Jaan Kaplinski, his nominating juror for the Neustadt Prize.
The next Neustadt laureate, Indian-Canadian author Rohinton Mistry, is scheduled to receive the award during the 2012 Neustadt Festival of International Literature and Culture, scheduled at OU for fall 2012.