In Romania, Herta Müller is a German, in Germany she is a Romanian. It is this sense of eternal outsider that she carries with her all the way to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm. For those of you who missed it when it went past, we’ve posted a short video of her time in Stockholm and an eBook of her Nobel Lecture, including an interview and an introduction by Georgia Brown. It’s a remarkable event and one which writers may take a great deal of inspiration from.

‘DO YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF was the question my mother asked me every morning, standing by the gate to our house, before I went out onto the street. I didn’t have a handkerchief. And because I didn’t, I would go back inside and get one. I never had a handkerchief because I would always wait for her question. The handkerchief was proof that my mother was looking after me in the morning. For the rest of the day I was on my own.’

In Every Word Knows Something of a Vicious Circle Herta Müller describes how living under a dictatorship shapes her work. She outlines how words and writing allowed her to turn humiliation into a type of dignity that takes time to arouse suspicion.

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