Poet to accept Nobel Prize by playing piano
Published 07/10/2011 | 05:00
A Swedish poet who all but lost the power of speech after suffering a stroke more than 20 years ago plans to accept the grandest prize in literature by way of a piano recital.
Tomas Transtromer (80) was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature after the Swedish Academy praised him because, "through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality". The poet, who lost the use of his right arm after the stroke in 1990, is a keen pianist. Swedish musicians have adapted for him compositions designed to be played with one hand.
Neil Astley, the poet's friend and the founding editor of Bloodaxe, Mr Transtromer's British publisher, said the Swede often expressed himself through music, and anticipated a performance at the Nobel ceremony.
"I imagine he'll be in a wheelchair, and he will speak to people through the piano," he said.
Mr Transtromer has often been named among the favourites for the €1.09m Nobel Prize. Swedish press has often camped outside his apartment in Stockholm, hours before the Nobel announcement in anticipation of a victory.
Born in Stockholm in 1931, Mr Transtromer was raised alone by his mother, a teacher. He started writing poetry while studying and debuted with the collection 'Seventeen Poems' at the age of 23. As a psychologist, he has divided his time between poetry and work in institutions for juvenile offenders.