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Jon Fosse (OSV News/NTB/Hakon Mosvold Larsenvia handout via Reuters)

Church leaders in Norway have welcomed the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Jon Fosse, a Catholic convert, predicting the honour could raise Catholicism’s profile in the traditionally Protestant country. Source: OSV News.

“Fosse gives voice, with elegance and beauty, to the mystery of faith – having read him with reverence for years, I think our country is blessed to have a poet of his stature,” said Bishop Erik Varden of Trondheim.

“A Catholic writer is someone who assimilated the grace of belonging to the Church in such a way that it’s perfectly innate and natural to their self-expression. In that sense, Fosse is very much a Catholic writer,” he said.

The bishop was reacting to the Nobel Committee’s decision to honour the novelist and playwright, who will receive the 2023 prize in Stockholm on December 10.

He said Fosse tended “to avoid the limelight,” but also was known for “speaking openly about his faith, unencumbered by complexes”.

Meanwhile, a prominent priest said the award would highlight the Catholic Church’s rootedness in Norwegian society and culture.

“It provides a wonderful boost for us when Catholics can develop and use their talents to such a level,” Fr Pal Bratpak, an Oslo Diocese administrator, said.

“His literature presents an encounter with greater things, including elements of faith – and while this may not be his conscious objective, it will certainly reach out to people,” he said.

Born in 1959 at Haugesund on Norway’s west coast, Fosse has published over 30 novels, as well as poetry collections, essays, children’s books and translations, while his theatre works, performed worldwide. He was received into the Catholic Church in 2012.

In its citation, the Nobel Committee said Fosse’s work gave “voice to the unsayable,” by depicting “feelings of anxiety, insecurity and disorientation” which were often “difficult to capture in words”.


Norway Catholics hail Nobel Prize for writer-convert (By Jonathan Luxmoore, OSV News via UCA News)