Born: 2 July 1923, Bnin (now Kórnik), Poland
Died: 1 February 2012, Kraków, Poland
Residence at the time of the award: Poland
Prize motivation: "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"
Prize share: 1/1
Wislawa Szymborska was a Polish-born poet, essayist and translator. Her first collection, 'That's What We Live For' (1952), was written under Poland's communist regime and was an expression of socialist realism. She has been described as a "Mozart of Poetry", as her words fall into place with a veritable ease, and during her lifetime, she wrote around 400 poems, seemingly simple, but subtle and deep. She used common everyday images to reflect on larger truths - such as an onion or a cat - in her poems about life's big subjects: love, death and passing time.