Playwright Fosse wins Ibsen prize

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Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse said he was “very happy and grateful” after winning the International Ibsen Award for 2010. Plays by Fosse, who has more than 30 to his credit, have been staged more than 900 times around the world and some call him “the new Ibsen.”

Jon Fosse will formally receive his award at Norway's National Theater in Oslo, during the annual Ibsen Festival in September. PHOTO: Ibsen Awards

The 50-year-old Fosse, who lives in Bergen, is the first Norwegian to win the award that was established by the Norwegian government in 2007. He was chosen by a jury that includes Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann.

“To be prized by (jury members) who know so much about theater, warms the heart,” Fosse told news bureau NTB. Earlier prizewinners include Peter Brook in 2008 and Ariane Mnouchkine in 2009.

Fosse was hailed for his “unique dramatic authorship, which opens the stage curtains onto the wordless mysteries that follow mankind from the cradle to the grave.” He is also an author and poet whose works have been translated into more than 40 languages.

The International Ibsen Award honors an individual, organization or institution in the fields of culture and art that has made a significant contribution “in the spirit of (Norwegian playwright) Henrik Ibsen.” It carries a prize of NOK 2.5 million (about USD 400,000).

Fosse said he intends to use the money for “completely normal things,” only when he needs it. “I must acknowledge that I’m an ageing man, and then the money can come in handy,” he said. “My economic motto is like Picasso’s: I want to live like I’m poor, but with lots of money.”

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