6 master storytellers – on the power of books

Celebrating the written world of human experience and imagination

6 master storytellers

Nadine Gordimer during the interview with Nobelprize.org.

Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1991

Nadine Gordimer: “I always repeat; read, read, read”

When asked about her most valuable words of advice, Nadine Gordimer, answered: “Boringly, I always repeat; read, read, read and don’t read the book coming in a stream of words on a screen, don’t depend on that, which you now have in your car and on your, god knows, your cell phone and everything. Please, just go to the library and read.”
Watch the interview Nadine Gordimer

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Read her novel ‘Loot’

Mario Vargas Llosa delivering his Nobel Lecture.

Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2010

Mario Vargas Llosa: “Good literature erects bridges between different peoples”

In his Nobel Lecture, Mario Vargas Llosa praised reading and fiction: “Good literature erects bridges between different peoples, and by having us enjoy, suffer, or feel surprise, unites us beneath the languages, beliefs, habits, customs, and prejudices that separate us.”
Read Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel Lecture

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Read an excerpt from ‘The Storyteller’

Doris Lessing during an interview with Nobelprize.org.

Doris Lessing, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2007

Doris Lessing: “The storyteller is deep inside every one of us”

In her Nobel Lecture, Doris Lessing talked about the old storytellers that go back and back in time, and the value of reading: “The storyteller is deep inside every one of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is ravaged by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise. But the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us – for good and for ill.”
Read Doris Lessing’s Nobel Lecture

“Mary Turner, wife of Richard Turner, a farmer at Ngesi, was found murdered on the front veranda of their homestead yester­day morning. The houseboy, who has been arrested, has con­fessed to the crime. No motive has been discovered.”

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Read an excerpt from ‘The Grass is Singing’

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1954

Ernest Hemingway: “A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it”

Ernest Hemingway was unable to be present at the Nobel Prize Ceremony for reasons of health. His speech of thanks at the banquet afterwards was recorded at a later date: How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.

I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you.”
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Herta Müller delivering her speech at the Nobel Banquet.

Herta Müller, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2009

Herta Müller: “Nothing speaks to us as forcefully as a book”

“Literature speaks with everyone individually – it is personal property that stays inside our heads. And nothing speaks to us as forcefully as a book, which expects nothing in return, other than that we think and feel”, said Herta Müller in her speech at the Nobel Banquet.
Read the complete speech

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Read an excerpt from ‘The Passport’

Orhan Pamuk delivering his banquet speech.

Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2006

Orhan Pamuk: “Literature is about happiness”

In his speech at the Nobel Banquet, Orhan Pamuk tried to explain why he writes: “Literature is about happiness, I wanted to say, about preserving your childishness all your life, keeping the child in you alive …”
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Read an excerpt from ‘Istanbul: Memories of a City’

First published 22 April 2016