b. 1953 (in Nitzkydorf, Banat, Romania)
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009
"who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed"
Born in Romania in 1953, Herta Müller lost her job as a teacher and suffered repeated threats after refusing to cooperate with Ceausescu's secret police. She succeeded in emigrating in 1987 and now lives in Berlin.
Herta Müller, a little-known Romanian-born author who was persecuted for her critical depictions of life behind the Iron Curtain, won the 2009 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday in an award seen as a nod to the 20th anniversary of communism's collapse.
The decision was expected to keep alive the controversy surrounding the academy's pattern of awarding the prize to European writers.
Müller, a member of Romania's ethnic German minority, was honored for work that "with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed," the Swedish Academy said.
"I am very surprised and still cannot believe it," Müller said in a statement released by her publisher in Germany, where she is widely renowned. "I can't say anything more at the moment."