The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011
Born: 15 April 1931, Stockholm, Sweden
Died: 26 March 2015, Stockholm, Sweden
Residence at the time of the award: Sweden
Prize motivation: “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”
Prize share: 1/1
Tomas Tranströmer grew up in Stockholm, where his mother was a teacher. After studying the history of literature and other subjects at Stockholm University College, he studied to become a psychologist. Apart from his authorship, Tranströmer has also worked as a psychologist at the Labour Market Institute in Västerås, Sweden, among other places. Tranströmer suffered a stroke in 1990 that severely limited his ability to speak and that has also influenced his writing. His later poems have taken on a shorter, even more concentrated format as a result. Tranströmer is married with two daughters.
One of poetry’s strangest powers is its ability to draw out the great and wonderful from the mundane. Tomas Tranströmer has this ability in spades. Since his writing debut in the 1950s, Tranströmer’s poetry has been characterised by its “everyday roots”, and a striving after simplicity that allows room for its reader to marvel and to concentrate. His poems are marked by rich, keen and original imagery. Two of Tranströmer’s greatest interests, nature and music, have also left deep impressions on his writing.