Nobel Prize for Literature Winner is a No-Show

Posted on December 10, 2004

In an interview with New York Magazine and reported by the International Herald Tribune, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Elfriede Jelinek of Austria did not appear at the public ceremony to pick up her award. She say she suffers from agoraphobia. She told Deborah Solomon of the Times, "I'm unable to be in crowds, and I can't bear to be looked at."

Solomon notes the irony, "That seems surprising for a writer known for her socially pointed works, including [her] new play, "Bambiland," with its references to Abu Ghraib."

The author says she would love to visit the United States, but explained, "It's very difficult for me to travel. Perhaps I'll take a boat to New York City one day. I'm just afraid that the speed and noise would make me mad as soon as I set foot on land."

What a tragedy: to have won the most prestigious literary award in the world and be unable to accept it in person.

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